Most African countries have a common national sport which is football but in the last few years there’s been more interests in others and Basketball is one that’s stood out amongst these newcomers. The National Basketball Association, the world’s biggest and most popular basketball competition has grown an interest in Africa’s growing love for basketball, knowing we have the potential to be a prominent destination for the sport.
Many professional players of African descent including hall of famers two-time Houston Rockets champion Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria and indomitable one-time finalist Dikembe Mutombo of DR Congo have been involved in the NBA’s African outreach. Current players such as Senegal’s Gorgui Dieng, Cameroon’s Joel Embiid, DRC’s Bismack Biyombo, and South Sudan’s Luol Deng have also had a hand in building the NBA’s African brand at a grassroots level.
Last weekend, the NBA announced Saturday it will help launch a professional basketball league in Africa.
The new league will be called the Basketball Africa League, or BAL, according to the joint announcement from the NBA and FIBA, basketball’s international governing body. The BAL will feature 12 teams representing several countries across the African continent, including Nigeria, Angola, Senegal, Tunisia, Kenya, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa and Rwanda, the NBA’s press release stated.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis made the joint announcement at the NBA All-Star 2019 Africa luncheon in North Carolina,
“The implementation of this league is also vital to our young up-and-coming players in Africa as it gives them something to take aim at: they can look at becoming players who can play and evolve in these competitions, right on their continent,” said Alphonse Bilé, FIBA Africa executive director, according to the release.
The BAL will be the first time the NBA collaborates to operate a league outside of North America, the organization stated. The NBA and FIBA also announced plans to hold qualification tournaments this year to determine the 12 teams, which are slated to officially