The NBA launches Basketball Africa League (BAL) and NBA Africa.

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In its bid to produce more NBA stars from the second most populous continent, the National Basketball Association has launched NBA Africa and Basketball Africa League (BAL). Africa has produced more than 80 NBA players such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Serge Ibaka, Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam, Luol Deng, Emmanuel Mudiay, to name but a few.

Fifty-five current NBA players are from Africa or have family ties there – Adam Silver

With the International roster of the NBA seeming to be reaching a plateau, the Basketball Africa League (BAL) is a step in the right direction.

  • 2014: 85 players
  • 2016: 110 players
  • 2017: 108 players
  • 2019: 108 players
  • 2020: 107 players

The Basketball Africa League (BAL), a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), is a new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa. The BAL builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA has organized in Africa and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside North America.

  • 12 teams will play this season. 
  • Six countries are guaranteed a spot for their national club champions.
  • The other six teams earn their spots through qualification tournaments hosted by FIBA.
  • Rwanda has been selected as the hosting country for the BAL’s first Season.

The following teams have qualified for the inaugural season of the BAL.

  • Algeria – GS Pétroliers
  • Angola – Petro de Luanda
  • Cameroon – FAP
  • Egypt- Zamalek
  • Madagascar – GNBC
  • Mali – AS Police
  • Morocco – AS Salé
  • Mozambique – Ferroviaro de Maputo
  • Nigeria – Rivers Hoopers
  • Rwanda – Patriots
  • Senegal – As Douanes
  • Tunisia – US Monastir

The NBA has been making strides and in roads into the African continent through:

The NBA has a decades-long history in Africa and opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg in 2010.

 Basketball Without Borders Camps

The NBA has been hosting  Basketball Without Borders Camps across Africa since 2003. Cameroonian Born Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam was discovered at the 2012 South Africa NBA Basketball without borders camp in South Africa. Basketball Without Borders and program director Masai Ujiri is profiled in Hubert Davis’s 2016 documentary film Giants of Africa.

The NBA has played three summer exhibitions in Africa in recent years.

NBA Academy Africa Training Center in Senegal

NBA Academy Africa is an elite basketball training center in Senegal for the top male and female prospects from throughout Africa. In November 2018, the NBA opened a new elite basketball training center in Saly, Senegal to serve as the primary training location for NBA Academy Africa prospects from across the continent. The new facility features two indoor basketball courts, a multidimensional activity center, a swimming pool, a weight room, conference rooms as well as dormitories and educational facilities.

 NBA Africa

On Monday, May 24, 2021, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the formation of a new business investment entity called NBA Africa that would oversee the Basketball Africa League (BAL) and accelerate the growth of the game on the continent. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum will be on the board of directors.

Adam Silver said the current enterprise value of NBA Africa is “nearly $1 billion,” though amounts of the league and individual investments were not disclosed.

Tom O’Connor/NBAE via Getty Images

Investors in NBA Africa include two Nigerian businessmen Babatunde “Tunde” Folawiyo, chairman and CEO of Yinka Folawiyo Group, and the Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation, led by co-CEO Tope Lawani, former NBA players Junior Bridgeman, Luol Deng, Grant Hill, Dikembe Mutombo, and Joakim Noah.

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