Set to tip off on May 16, the NBA’s new Basketball Africa League will feature 12 teams from across Africa playing 26 games at Kigali Arena in Rwanda.
The 12 African countries represented by teams in the BAL, which is a collaboration between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA, are 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) and Tunisia (US Monastir).
“We are extremely happy to finally launch the highly anticipated first season of the BAL,” said FIBA Africa president Anibal Manave. “FIBA and the NBA have been working closely together to develop protocols to address the health and safety of all players, coaches, and officials. The experience of hosting the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers in Rwanda late last year will contribute to a safe and successful inaugural BAL season.”
The BAL marks the first time the NBA has collaborated to operate a league outside of North America.
“We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena,” said BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall. “Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture.”
The BAL’s 12 teams will be divided into three groups of four, and each team will face the other three teams in its group once during the first phase of play. The top eight teams from the group-play phase will qualify for the playoffs. The three-round postseason will be single elimination, and the first BAL Finals will be held on May 30 if all goes to plan.