The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) launched on Saturday 16, February their project to start a professional basketball league in Africa that will feature 12 teams from different countries across the continent.
The announcements were made by FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the NBA All-Star 2019 Africa Luncheon in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The league will be referred to as the Basketball Africa League (BAL). The BAL will be built on the foundation of current club competitions that FIBA is organizing in Africa.
It’s a huge joy to see our partnership with the NBA enter unchartered territory as we work together for the first time to maximize the potential of professional basketball in Africa,” said FIBA Secretary General Mr. Andreas Zagklis on behalf of FIBA
“This is a natural extension of what we have done through the joint initiative that is Basketball Without Borders (BWB), which helps find, develop and nurture young talented players all around the world, including in Africa. He added
The Basketball Africa League will enable us to build on the solid foundation laid by FIBA Africa and relaunch the continent’s club competition to offer the ultimate platform for the very best clubs and players.”
The BAL is scheduled to debut next year (January 2020), and it is set to include teams from different African countries, like 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.”
“The establishment of the Basketball Africa League is another exciting milestone for the NBA in Africa,” said NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall.
“Having a top-flight professional basketball league in Africa will provide a platform for elite players to showcase their talent and inspire more young boys and girls to play the game.”
The NBA and FIBA also have promised to offer financial support and resources toward the continued development of Africa’s basketball ecosystem, including training for players, coaches and referees, and infrastructure investment.
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