The National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association have scheduled the first-ever professional game in Africa for Aug. 1 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The game will feature a Team Africa vs. Team World format 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.
“The NBA has worked hard to grow the game of basketball in Africa, and I am excited to take this next step of playing our first game on the continent,” says Adam Silver, NBA commissioner. “Our players have been tremendous partners in this effort, and all of us look forward to sharing the authentic NBA experience and the values of our game with fans in Africa.”
Team Africa will be comprised of players from Africa and second-generation African players, and Team World will be comprised of players from the rest of the world.
Eight-time NBA All-Star and NBPA president Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers will serve as Team World’s captain, while two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng of the Miami Heat, who was born in South Sudan, will serve as Team Africa’s captain.
NBA executives, coaches and general managers will also participate including 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks, NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, New Orleans Pelicans Coach Monty Williams and more.
“We recognize that the best ambassadors to grow the game globally are the players themselves,” says Michele Roberts, executive director, NBPA. “The league and union have a powerful platform to welcome more players and fans to the sport, and build more opportunities for everyone to experience the game.”
The game will air live in Africa on SuperSport and will take place following the 13th edition of Basketball without Borders Africa, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development program, which takes place across 31 African countries.
More than 35 players from Africa have played in the NBA since Hall of Famer and two-time NBA Champion Hakeem Olajuwon was drafted in 1984. The league has hosted events on the continent since 1993 and in 2010 opened its first office in Johannesburg. Additionally, NBA Cares has built 38 places to live, learn and play on the continent.