NBA To Hold First Exhibition Game in Africa

F2FA April 23, 2015
Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo

This week, the National Basketball Players Association (NBA) announced its first game in South Africa as it looks to win fans and players on the continent, according to the Associated Press.


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While the NBA has nabbed African basketball greats Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria and Dikembe Mutombo (pictured top) of Congo, basketball still has a far way to go in overcoming football as Africa’s sport of choice.

Consequently, in 2010, the NBA opened its first office in South Africa to facilitate efforts of gaining more traction in Africa.

August 1st will be the NBA’s first exhibition game to be held on the continent, with Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Arena as the venue of choice.

Luol Deng

The teams to face off include Team Africa, which will be led by South Sudanese Miami Heat player Luol Deng (pictured), and Team World, which will be led by American Los Angeles Clippers player Chris Paul.

Of the upcoming game, Deng offered, “I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA’s first

Luol Deng

Luol Deng talking with youth

game in Africa.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver added, “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.”

Face2Face Africa recently reported on the efforts of Toronto Raptors‘ General Manager Masai Ujiri bringing the sport to Africa with his basketball camp:

The camp, which was held in Kenya for the first time, gathered the top-50 basketball players from Kenya and three players from Sudan in a clinic that sought to upgrade the skills of the invited 15- to- 18-year-olds.

The annual gathering was held at Brookhouse Sports Centre under the watchful eye of Ujiri, the first African-born general manager for any American sports team.

Ujiri opened the camp in order to give the teens life skills to succeed in basketball. This was followed by drills and instruction to work on the fundamentals of the game, which was coordinated by Jama Mahlalela (assistant coach, Toronto Raptors), Patrick Mutombo (assistant coach, Denver Nuggets), Abel Nson (scout, Toronto Raptors), Michael Akuboh (scout, Toronto Raptors), and Godwin Owinje (founder, Radar Hoops).


See photos from Masai Ujiri’s basketball camp here:

Do you think basketball can become the sport of choice in Africa?

SEE ALSO: Africans Dominate 2015 Boston Marathon!

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: September 15, 2018


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