Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Kirby Burkholder


Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Albania

I was born and raised in small town Bridgewater, Virginia. I started my basketball career at Turner Ashby High School where I hold the all-time scoring and rebounding records, and have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. I continued my career at James Madison University, winning 2 CAA championships and holding CAA Player of the Year honors. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sports and Recreation Management.

After graduating, I played 9 years professionally, mainly overseas. I played in Italy (2 years), Belgium, Hungary (3 years), Poland, and Puerto Rico. I was also part of the inaugural season of Athletes Unlimited, a new up and coming Women’s Professional Sports League in the United States. I will continue to play in season two this year and currently serve on the AU Player Executive Committee for women’s basketball.

Since retiring from playing overseas, I have worked in various youth basketball organizations gearing towards providing guidance, training, and leadership to youth sports initiatives. I am currently working with Slam City Management Group: one of 16 flagship programs of the Jr. NBA. Slam City works with local youth to provide opportunities to grow on and off the court through training and team programs, and is also connected to international federations by way of USA Basketball and FIBA to bring students to the US to gain higher educational and playing experience. I am dedicated and engaged to bring more awareness and support especially to women and girls in sports and providing them with more opportunities.

Bob Mackinnon, Jr.


Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Mexico

BOB MACKINNON has 35 plus years of experience coaching at the Collegiate and Professional levels, including eight seasons as a Head Coach in the NBA G League. In his first year in the G-League, MacKinnon coached the Colorado 14ers to a 34-16 regular season record and ultimately the 2008-09 D-League Championship.

MacKinnon then went on to coach the Idaho Stampede and Springfield Armor (in his first season in Springfield, he led the Armor to a League record turn around; going from 8 wins the season before to 29 wins), before landing in Los Angles with the Lakers Affiliate. In the 2013-14 season, MacKinnon led the development of three Lakers assignees, while boasting four NBA Call-Ups from the D-Fenders. MacKinnon also coached in China, as the Head Coach of the CBA’s Tianjin Team in 2010 – 11. Additionally, he was selected to run the G-League’s Elite Mini-Camp and National Tryouts for the seven years.
MacKinnon completed his third season as the Head Coach of the Dallas Mavericks affiliate, the Texas Legends in 2020; in his first season with the Legends he led the team to franchise records in NBA Call-ups (5), wins (25) & attendance. In his second season, the Legends led the League again in Call-ups (7), had another win’s record (29), & topped their attendance mark yet again. Over the course of his 8 years in the G League, MacKinnon’s teams have always finished in top 3 in the league in scoring, pace of play, rebounding, steals and assists. MacKinnon is the All-time leader in the NBA G League history in both Call-ups (28) & Wins (207 – the only coach in NBA G League history to record over 200 wins).

MacKinnon’s career began at the Collegiate level at King’s College in Pennsylvania where he played four seasons and got his first coaching opportunity in 1982. He would go on to Coach at the Collegiate level for 25 years starting as an Assistant Coach at Mercyhurst College (1982-85), followed by George Washington University (1985-90), and Niagara University (1990-97), before he was named the Head Coach of the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1997. MacKinnon led the Mariners to two Skyline Conference Championships, securing consecutive NCAA tournament bids, and earning Skyline Conference Coach of the Year in 1999. He then joined the staff at the University of Notre Dame (1999-2000) as an Assistant Coach, followed by being named an Assistant Coach at the University of North Carolina (2000-03), before becoming the Senior Assistant Coach at Marshall University (2003-07).

MacKinnon is a world-renowned Basketball Clinician. He has Directed or spoken at over 300 camps/clinics in 18 countries. He works with the NBA in many of their overseas programs, and with the Tel-Mex foundation in Mexico directing camps for Coaches and youth programs alike. MacKinnon is also a certified trainer for the Positive Coaching Alliance in the United States. He leads and directs workshops for PCA, as they attempt to enhance the culture of Youth Sports in the United States.

Edniesha Curry


Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Palestinian Territories

Edniesha Curry is currently an assistant coach for the Trail Blazers in 2021-22. Curry joins the coaching staff from the University of Maine where she was an assistant coach with the men’s basketball team from 2018-21. She previously served as a player development and assistant coach for the Maine women’s basketball program from 2015-17. Curry is a graduate of the NBA Assistant Coaches’ Program where she gained experience working at the NBA Draft Combine and the NBA G League Showcase. In 2019, Curry served as a guest coach for San Antonio’s summer league team and assisted with Minnesota’s pre-draft workouts. She has also coached and done player development work internationally in Vietnam, China, Israel, and Palestine. As a player, Curry played in the WNBA for Phoenix and Los Angeles along with teams overseas in Greece, Poland, Israel, and Hungary from 2002-09. Curry is a graduate of University of Oregon, where she played the final two seasons of her college career. She is the proud daughter of Edward and Bertha Curry and Jenoah Haywood-Curry and sister to five siblings.

Over her long coaching career, Curry has consistently delivered leadership, training, and mentoring to student athletes as well as former professional NBA and WNBA athletes. This experience comes from Curry’s work with FIBA, NCAA, and NBA programs. Curry’s expertise on collaborating business and basketball has afforded opportunities to interface with key marketing and leadership staff within these organizations. Curry is a dedicated advocate for the physical, mental, and social development of sport organizations, people, and athletes all over the world.

Stephen Howard


Served as envoy

  • 2022  –  Palestinian Territories
  • 2022  –  Pakistan
  • 2023  –  Indonesia

Stephen Howard: NBA player, Leadership Expert, ESPN & FOX Sports College Basketball Analyst, Collegiate All-American.

Stephen coaches leaders, organizations, and executives an astonishing game-changing plan for breakthrough success. If you’re ready to take your team to the next level you’ll want to hear the extraordinary story of how Stephen discovered the three steps that position sports teams and business organizations to become the leading edge, champions in their field even in times of dynamic change.

Stephen received accolades early in his career and made it to the top in academics, athletics, and as a leadership expert. At DePaul University, he was the first and last member of the men’s basketball team to be named First Team Academic All-American and as a senior earned the prestigious Anson Mount Scholar-Athlete Award which is given annually to the nation’s premier scholar-athlete. Stephen played four years in the NBA for the Seattle Supersonics, San Antonio Spurs, and the Utah Jazz, including the 1996-1997 Jazz team that went to the NBA Finals against Michael Jordan and the Bulls.

After the NBA, Stephen lived in 12 different countries including France, Spain, China, and Israel immersing himself in the unique cultures of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. He then joined ESPN and FOX Sports as a college basketball analyst, earned a Master of Organizational Leadership, and travels the world empowering individuals and organizations with strategies and concepts to enhance their performance, productivity, and profitability and leave a legacy. In 2021, Stephen began working in the DE&I space as a consultant with the NBA Academy and MLS (Major League Soccer) in addition to his work as a Sports Envoy to the Sports Diplomacy Division of the U.S. Department of State.

Allan Houston


Served as envoy

  • 2021  –  Global

Allan Houston is the New York Knicks Vice President of Player Leadership and Development, and all-around powerhouse in the sports industry. A consummate athlete, Allan is a two-time NBA all-star with a 12-year playing tenure with the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks and was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Men’s Basketball team at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Allan’s impact extends beyond the court through the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation, through The FISLL Project, which serves underserved youth, families and communities nationwide through its strategic partnerships, coaching clinics, fatherhood and family programming. He received the President’s Council on Service and Engagement Award from the Obama Administration and earned his Bachelor of Arts in African-American studies from the University of Tennessee. Allan and his wife, Tamara of 22 years, have 7 children.

Etan Thomas


Served as envoy

  • 2021  –  Global

Etan Thomas has been the personification of “The Activist Athlete.” his entire 11 NBA career. Thomas defies the stereotype of the apolitical athlete, planting his roots in his formidable literary career, passion for mentoring and civic engagement.

Born in Harlem, New York and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Thomas’ childhood was surrounded by books on the civil rights movement, politics and the 1960′s. He was greatly influenced by his mother, Deborah Thomas, a schoolteacher, who instilled in her two sons to think critically and use their platform to make a difference. Etan Thomas has made his mark far beyond the boundaries of his 11 years in the NBA.

His latest work, We Matter “Athletes And Activism” was released March 6th 2018, Thomas has amassed an amazing collection of interviews intertwined with the heartfelt commentary of his own to create a masterpiece. You’ll read the voices of athletes, activists, media personalities, scholars, and the family of victims of police brutality. We Matter was listed as one of the top ten best activism books of all time by Book Authority. And tied for best non-fiction for 2018 by the African-American Literary Awards (AALAS)

In 2005, Thomas released his first book, a collection of poems called More Than An Athlete (Haymarket Books) that set Thomas apart as “this generation’s athlete with a moral conscious and a voice.” In 2012, Thomas released his 2nd book, Fatherhood: Rising To The Ultimate Challenge (Penguin), as a national conversation about fatherhood ensued and The Fatherhood Movement was borne. Thomas continues this conversation holding Town Hall panels through-out the country at prisons, churches, Universities, schools, and various conventions where he continues to inspire, motivate and support generations. In January 2013, he released Voices Of The Future (Penguin), a collection of poems and essays from young writers from around the country on topics such as Racism, Trayvon Martin, President Obama, Gun Violence, and Aids. Thomas utilizes poetry as an expressive form and encourages young people to read, write and develop the skills to express themselves.

Etan Thomas approaches his work fearlessly. Never afraid to voice his opinions, Etan was honored for social justice advocacy as the recipient of the 2010 National Basketball Players Association Community Contribution Award, as well as the 2009 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation, Inc. Legacy Award. Etan jumps at the opportunity to support civic engagement especially for under- resourced populations.

He is a senior writer for and is the host of The Rematch. He writes for The Guardian and has previously written for The Washington Post, Huffington Post, CNN, ESPN, and slamonline. He frequently can be seen on MSNBC as a special correspondent for “hot topics.” He continues to be invited on syndicated radio and co-hosts a weekly local radio show on WPFW 89.3FM, The Collision, where sports and politics collide.

Dr. Becky Clark


Served as envoy

  • 2013  –  China

Becky Clark, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist (LCSW-R) and Certified Consultant (CC- Association for Applied Sport Psychology) with a private practice in New York City. With more than 20 years of experience, she specializes in working with adolescents and adults with hearing loss, childhood trauma, exercise and psychotherapy, deaf and disability sport, individuals and teams from recreational to elite athletes.

Dr. Clark has a rich and long history as a multi-sport standout athlete including: four sport high school letter winner, former basketball player for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols, three-time Deaflympian with one gold and two silver medals in volleyball, 1991 Olympic Festival (volleyball), all star catcher/1st baseman in fast pitch softball and has run 7 marathons. She was a Torchbearer for the 2002 Winter Olympics Torch Relay Team.

Dr. Clark is an internationally published author, researcher, freelance writer and public speaker. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). She serves on the Diversity Committee and Women in Sports & Disability SIGs of AASP (

Dr. Clark also serves as a member of the ING New York City Marathon Psyching Team, the Advisory Council for Healing with Basketball ( and the Strategic Planning Committee of the USADSF (

YeRuchia “Rushia” Brown


Served as envoy

  • 2017  –  Ethiopia

Rushia Brown was born in the Bronx, NY and raised in South Carolina. As a sophomore, she first picked up a ball and joined the Summerville High School Junior Varsity basketball team. Athletic, yet untrained, Rushia began a journey that would forever change her life. Through hard work and dedication, she was one of the top student-athlete recruits in the state of South Carolina as a senior; being courted by esteemed universities such as Harvard, Duke University and her then dream school, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. With the recent loss of her father, Rushia chose to stay close to home and attend Furman University.

As a Lady Paladin, Rushia pursued her education and competed on the court, attaining every accolade available including Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, multiple MVPs, Southern Conference Player of the Year, Edna Hartness Athlete of the Year and eventually having her jersey hang from the rafters as #34 was retired, never to be worn again. Rushia’s collegiate years lead to a 10 year professional career overseas, which spanned 5 countries; Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Korea and 7 years in the WNBA; 6 years in Cleveland and 1 year in Charlotte.

Brown is currently working to make a difference in the lives of girls and women through the sport of basketball. Rushia is the Founder/President of the Women’s Professional Basketball Alumnae (WPBA), the only organization structured to assist women who have played professionally in the WNBA or in Europe as they transition into mainstream society.

Rushia is also the Director of Public Relations for Young Black Entrepreneur Magazine,(YBE) an educational platform for those with entrepreneurial aspirations.

Teresa Edwards


Served as envoy

  • 2009  –  Mozambique

When she was 20 years old, at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, Teresa Edwards became the youngest athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball. Sixteen years later, at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Edwards became the oldest player to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball.

All told, the sensational 5-foot-11 point guard from Cairo, Georgia, played in five Olympic Games, bringing home four gold medals and one bronze.

It was one heck of a journey for Edwards, whose basketball career began when she and her younger brothers would shoot baskets in their grandmother’s front yard – the basket there was a bicycle rim nailed to a pine tree. A four-year starter for the Cairo High Syrupmakers, Edwards went to the University of Georgia, where she again was a four-year starter, leading the Bulldogs to Final Four appearances in 1983 and 1985, averaging 15.5 points and 5.1 assists for her career.

Edwards made her Olympic debut in 1984 as the Americans breezed to a relatively easy gold medal victory. Led by the standout Cheryl Miller, the United States won all of its games by at least 30 points.

In the 1988 Seoul Games, Edwards averaged team-highs of 16.6 points and 3.4 assists per game as the Americans claimed gold, beating Yugoslavia, 77-70, in the championship game. Four years later in Barcelona, Edwards averaged 12.6 points and 5.4 assists but the United States was upset in the semifinals and had to settle for a bronze medal.

At the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, Edwards was selected to read the Athlete’s Oath at the Opening Ceremony and two weeks later she and her teammates returned to the top of the podium. Edwards averaged 6.9 points and 7.2 assists and the United States won each of its games by at least 15 points. At the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the 36-year-old Edwards averaged 6.1 points and 3.4 assists as the Americans again won all of their games by double figures to win gold. Edwards also was involved in the London 2012 Olympic Games, serving as the United States’ Chef de Mission.

Tamika Raymond


Served as envoy

  • 2010  –  Malawi
  • 2011  –  Tanzania
  • 2012  –  China
  • 2013  –  Ukraine
  • 2013  –  Nigeria
  • 2014  –  Sri Lanka

Tamika Maria Raymond is an Assistant Coach for the women’s basketball team at the University of Kansas. Prior to serving in that role, Raymond played professional basketball in the WNBA for six seasons. During the 2002 WNBA Draft, the Minnesota Lynx selected Raymond with the sixth overall pick. She played her last season in the WNBA with the Connecticut Sun.

Prior to playing in the WNBA, Raymond attended the University of Connecticut, where she majored in interpersonal communications. She played for the school’s women’s basketball teams, which won Division I National Championship teams in 2000 and 2002. She completed her four-year collegiate career with averages of 10.6 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. She finished as UConn’s all-time leader in field goal percentage at 70.3 percent.

Raymond had a stellar high school basketball career in Dayton, OH. She was named the 1997 and 1998 Ohio Player of the Year and was selected to the 1997-98 Associated Press girls Division I All-Ohio high school basketball team. She was named “Ohio’s Miss Basketball” by the Associated Press.