The National Basketball Association (NBA) has unveiled a consortium of partners for its maiden Africa game scheduled to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa on Aug. 1. A statement released by Quadrant Company, handling NBA-Africa in the country gave the names of the partnering companies as Econet Global Ltd., Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa and NIKE Inc.,
Others are South African Airways (SAA), SuperSport, and 947. The statement said that the NBA-Africa and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), mutually agreed to host the game at the Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa. “The game will feature Team Africa vs Team World and will be played in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
It said the game would be telecast live across the continent by SuperSport. “This is an historic moment for NBA-Africa and the sport of basketball in Africa, and we are excited to work with such a broad range of partners to make this game possible,’’ it quotes Amadou Gallo Fall, the NBA Vice-President and Managing Director-Africa.
“The game will impact young people throughout the continent, both on the court and in the community, as we bring some of the world’s most recognisable athletes to Johannesburg to celebrate our long tradition in Africa.’’ The statement noted that Team Africa, would comprise, players from Africa and second-generation African players, with team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; born in South Sudan), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder;Congo) and GorguiDieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal).
The statement added that Team World, would comprise players from the rest of the world — team captain and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; U.S.), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.) and Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; U.S.). The statement, then acknowledged that the NBA-Africa had a long history in the continent with more than 35 players from the continent featuring in NBA rosters since Hakeem Olajuwon was drafted in 1984.
It notes that through `NBA Cares’, `58 places to live’, `learn or play’ were created in Africa, and Basketball without Borders Africa had also held 12 times on the continent. It added that the league opened an African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2010 and recently launched Jr. NBA leagues in Mozambique and Uganda as part of comprehensive grassroots programmes across the continent.