Pierre Johannessen

Basketballer and humanitarian

ACTState RecipientYoung Australian of the Year2010

For Pierre Johannessen basketball is more than just a game, it is a way to change the world. In 2007 Pierre travelled to Bangladesh and, with three others established Big Bang Ballers, running tournaments, coaching teams and giving disadvantaged children the opportunity to participate in basketball. Two years on Big Bang Ballers is now an Australian-based organisation conducting activities in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan and the Philippines. They have catered to more than 8500 children; created Bangladesh’s first Basketball League, built basketball courts, and donated more than $15,000 worth of equipment and resources to orphanages, schools and charities aimed at youth.

Using basketball to tackle youth poverty and social disadvantage, Big Bang Ballers seeks to unify people, removing the inevitable divides between classes and social groups, and instead teaching the importance and value of teamwork. Most importantly, amidst the struggle of daily life, Big Bang Ballers provide an outlet for those children least able to be children.