In 2009, our very own Kobe Bryant Basketball Academy coach, Jose Gil started the Gil Basketball Academy (GBA) in east Salinas, CA. He did it with the belief that one of the most effective ways to strengthen a community is for its youth to be surrounded by positive adult role models, positive peer influences, and immersed in meaningful and constructive activities. The academy has grown in the past two years.

This past fall, his academy received an invitation from the Kiwi’s to travel to their native land of New Zealand and experience a culture different than ours, while participating in some friendly/social games of basketball and touring their country. Thirty-five of the academy’s kids and their parents accepted the invitation and have been working hard at fundraising to cover the cost of the trip which is $70,000. They are still trying to reach their goal of making this dream a reality for their kids.

Now, as we have seen in the news recently, New Zealand suffered a devastating earthquake that has changed lives forever. Upon hearing the news of this devastation, the parents and kids traveling to New Zealand, made a decision to reach out and help the people of New Zealand by challenging the communities and country we live in to meet their fundraising goal of $70,000 and match that same amount for those in New Zealand who are suffering.

It is with best regards that the Gil Basketball Academy is determined to “Pay It Forward.” These 35 kids and community members from the city of Salinas, CA truly believe that we all can make a difference in our community, our nation, and the world.

Kobe Bryant supports his coaches and this cause. The Gil Basketball Academy is a Non- Profit 501-c (3). If you would like to make a generous Tax-Deductible donation to the effort, please contact Coach Jose Gil at or mail donations to:

Gil Basketball Academy, c/o New Zealand Tour, 1522 Constitution Blvd. #213, Salinas,
CA 93905