OTISFIELD — Never doubt the power of layup drills, nor their ability to change the world.

Basketball Hall of Famers Dave Cowens and Teresa Johnson, current NBA players Tobias Harris and Matt Bonner and 2008 NBA champion Brian Scalabrine were among a handful of current and former professional basketball players and coaches participating in the Play for Peace clinic for 159 Seeds of Peace campers Wednesday.

“I think that the importance of the NBA players coming here is mostly because we feel important,”  said Aviv, a 17-year-old camper from Israel. “We are doing something, and people around us care about what we’re doing.

“And sometimes we inspire people — like, they tell us all the time that this is what we are doing, but we don’t feel that way. But if NBA players are arranging their times and do their best to come here, it means a lot. So we feel important. It’s like all the work we’re doing here is not just a waste.”

Most of the Seeds of Peace campers are from the Middle East. They are spending three weeks in Maine engaging with each other in an effort to end the generations of conflict among their countries.

Pretty serious stuff.

And, somehow, The White Mamba helps it all make sense.

Scalabrine has become a fixture at Seeds of Peace. He said this is his 13th year participating in the Play for Peace basketball clinic.

“We are here to support Seeds of Peace,” Scalabrine said.

Most of the campers don’t play basketball and don’t follow the NBA, but they know Scalabrine and they know his nickname. When he was introduced at the start of the clinic, many of the campers shouted, “White Mamba!”

Adham, 17, of Palestine, is at Seeds of Peace for the second time. This time, he is serving as a peer support and paradigm shifter. He didn’t know who the basketball players were when he first attended the camp in 2014.

“He was the name I remembered the most, so when I went home, the first thing I typed on Google was ‘The White Mamba,'” Adham said.

Like most American teenagers, Adham uses Google. The same can probably be said of teenagers in Israel or Jordan.

Abdulrahman, 15, of Jordan, found many fellow campers who, like him, play Pokemon Go.

“Seeds of Peace is a new experience that helps change us, in many different forms,” Abdulrahman said. “For me, personally, I saw that we’re all the same and that we all have the same interests and ideas — like we’re not different at all.”

Abdulrahman is one of a small number of campers who actually plays basketball at home. He was excited to be able to make it through all of the basketball drills after injuring his ankle on Tuesday.

Scalabrine, Cowens, Luke Bonner, Matt’s younger brother, and Josh Bartelstein, a former University of Michigan player who now works for the Detroit Pistons, taught layup, dribbling and passing skills and held layup contests between the two sides of the outdoor court.

Can layups really help change the world?

“It fits because it shows that we are together,” Abdulrahman said. “All of the Middle East — from whatever side you look at it — we’re all together, playing sports together as one group, regardless of your nationality.

“So basically, this is a time where we can play together, remember that we’re all the same, we’re all human beings — and we are friends, after all.”

Cowens was smiling throughout his first appearance at Seeds of Peace on Wednesday.

“This is awesome,” Cowens said. “This is what it’s all about. The game should be a unifier. That’s what this is all about, is just get everybody to open up to knowing they have more in common with each other than they have differences.”

Arn Tellem, a longtime sports agent who now runs the basketball side of the Detroit Pistons’ franchise, first got NBA players involved in Seeds of Peace in 2002. He said the basketball clinic has an impact on the players as well.

“I think they leave with gaining as much as the campers,” Tellem said. “I remember one of the players said to me, ‘I thought we had problems in our cities. And now I know there’s a whole other side to this world.’

“So even to the players, it opens their eyes to what’s happening globally,” he said. “And all of them inevitably — whether it’s from CNN or some other news station — follow afterwards what’s going on in the Middle East. It gives them a much greater awareness.”

Scalabrine said that awareness has extended to his family, who sometimes accompanies him to the camp. On the drive home to Boston after last year’s camp, his daughter, now 9, had a lot of questions.

“‘Why do they do this?’ and ‘Why are they fighting?'” Scalabrine said, repeating his daughter’s questions. “When you try to answer those questions, they’re really difficult to answer. So I got a lot of joy out of seeing her, I feel like, grow up really quick in one or two days.”

Abdulrahman wants to do similarly when he goes back to Jordan: share what he’s learned.

“I hope to increase the understanding (of) myself and also my family into this topic,” Abdulrahman said. “So hopefully one day, we can help end this conflict itself.”

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