President Rivlin with NBA Hall of Fame members David Robinson, and Wayne Embry
President Rivlin with NBA Hall of Fame members David Robinson, and Wayne Embry Mark Neiman / GPO

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday met a delegation of leading figures from the US National Basketball Association (NBA) at his residence in Jerusalem.

The group, led by NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum, included club owners, chairmen, board members, and members of the NBA Hall of Fame David Robinson, and Wayne Embry.

Rivlin welcomed the delegation and spoke of the impact all sport had on society.

"You all know very well that whatever sport we are talking about, a team is a symbol of community, of values," Rivlin said. "It represents hopes and dreams."

"The NBA and the WNBA, represent the hopes and dreams of so many young boys and girls around the world. For them you are a role model and an example. This is a great responsibility.

"Sport has the great power to break down barriers between people from different communities. In Israel, we are working to build this understanding. I am proud of the work my office is doing through the 'Israeli Hope in Sport' project."

Rivlin also told the NBA representatives about the Shield of Honor Award, which is presented by the President's Office to Israeli Premier League soccer clubs, in recognition of efforts to fight racism in soccer.

"We bring Jews and Arabs, children, to come and play side by side. Because a society that plays together, stays together."

Tatum told Rivlin of the NBA's "Basketball Without Borders" initiative, which brings children from different communities to play and train together. It will take place for the first time in Israel this year.