Big money heading to Africa!!
it is official. The NBA is heading to the continent.
The professional basketball association has announced the launch of an African Basketball League which will feature 12 teams from across the continent, reports CNN. Participating countries for the 2020 tournament include Angola, Egypt, Rwanda, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, and Tunisia
The leagues is a collaboration between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), notes CBS News.
“The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. “Combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa.”
The league will host qualification tournaments later this year.
The establishment of a league on the continent is intended to help unify the continent’s various independent teams and offer more exposure and resources.
President Barack Obama, a known basketball lover, congratulated the association’s move via Twitter and pointing out the unique opportunity it presents for the continent. According to Tim Reynold’s of the Associated Press, the former president has expressed a desire to be directly involved with the league.
I’ve always loved basketball because it’s about building a team that’s equal to more than the sum of its parts. Glad to see this expansion into Africa because for a rising continent, this can be about a lot more than what happens on the court. https://t.co/lghcLaUN9a
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 16, 2019
Some of the current NBA top players have African roots. Think of Milwaukee Bucks stars Giannis Antetokounmpo whose parents migrated from Nigeria to Greece, from where he was then scouted to join the NBA. Joel Embiid, who is popularly called “The Process” is from Cameroon and is one of the top defenders in the league and his team, Philadelphia 76Sixers. Minnesota Timberwolves’ rookie sensation Josh Okogie is from Nigeria while Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, who is having a career season, is from Cameroon.