Thanks to joint venture hatched by the NBA and FIBA, a new 12-team basketball league will be launching play in Africa in January 2020.
Former President Barack Obama, a recognized basketball fan, is expected to have a hands-on role with the new league, which will be called the Basketball Africa League (BAL).
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
To determine which teams will be participating in the BAL, the NBA and FIBA plan to conduct qualification tournaments later this year in countries including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia.
“The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said 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.”
Though Obama’s official role has yet to be determined, Silver said it will be an active one and that the former President wants to be directly involved with the BAL’s activities in Africa.
“He understands the economic opportunities in Africa,” Silver said. “He’s personally a huge fan of the game, and in fact dedicated a court there recently with Masai. So while we’re still talking to him in terms of exactly what his role is going to be, we know he’s going to be directly involved in our activities there as well.”