News

The NBA Makes Its Africa Debut

A closer look at the players representing Africa at the NBA’s first ever game on the continent.


Image via NBA Africa's Facebook

This Saturday, the NBA will hold its first ever exhibition game on the continent of Africa. Taking place at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, the sold-out game will pit Team Africa, led by South Sudan’s Luol Deng of the Miami Heat, against Team World, led by Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The game will see NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA Africa Managing Director Amadou Gallo Fall (Senegal), NBA "Global Ambassador" Dikembe Mutumbo (DRC), NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), as well as Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri (Nigeria) all in attendance.

The NBA, in its press release for the game, boasts that 35 African players have played in the league since Olajuwon arrived in Houston some 30+ years ago.

In the week leading up to the game, NBA players, coaches and legends are holding sessions on leadership and health and wellness for 59 of the top young players on the continent as part of the 13th edition of Basketball Without Borders Africa.

"I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA's first game in Africa," says Deng. "Coming from South Sudan and having participated in the Basketball without Borders Africa camps in Johannesburg previously, I am truly honored to be part of this historic event."

Joining Deng on the roster for Team Africa is Al-Farouq Aminu (Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Cameroon), Bismack Biyombo (DRC), Boris Diaw (Senegal), Gorgui Dieng (Senegal), Festus Ezeli (Nigeria), Luc Mbah a Moute (Cameroon), Congolese forward Serge Ibaka (who will travel but due to injury won't play), and last-minute addition Nazr Mohammed (Ghana).

Team World’s roster, in addition to NBA Players’ Association president Chris Paul, includes Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; U.S.), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain) and his brother Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls), Jeff Green (Grizzlies; U.S.), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics; U.S.), Evan Turner (Celtics; U.S.), and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic; Montenegro). Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins will be drawing up Xs and Os for Team World.

In the following pages, we take a closer look at the players representing Africa at the NBA’s first ever game on the continent.

Writer and videographer Sama'an Ashrawi was once in a Waka Flaka video. Follow him on Twitter at @samaanashrawi.

Next Page
Music
Image: Nabsolute Media

Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Tems Is Just Doing Her Thang In New Music Video 'Crazy Tings'

The Nigerian songstress is hell bent on taking over your summer playlist and it's getting harder to resist.