The National Basketball Association (NBA), the world’s biggest basketball brand, has announced that it will host its first game in Africa on the 1st of August 2015 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The game will see ‘Team Africa’ play against ‘Team World’. Team Africa will be made up of African basketball players and others with African heritage, while Team World will be largely comprised of players from the rest of the world.
The event marks a peak of NBA’s forays into Africa, having held 12 editions of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa tournaments. The tournament is a global basketball development programme that has positively impacted the game on the continent. The NBA contingent will also participate in other activities with communities in South Africa.
Two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng, born in South Sudan and currently playing for Miami Heat, has been selected to captain Team Africa. Deng describes the event as important for Africa and also said being part of it makes him feel honoured. “I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA’s first game in Africa,” said Deng. “Coming from South Sudan and having participated in the Basketball without Borders Africa camps in Johannesburg previously, I am truly honoured to be part of this historic event.”
NBA first opened an African office in Johannesburg in 2010 and has remained active on the continent with a range of programmes such as NBA Care. The game will broadcast live on pay TV channel, SuperSport.