In Conversation: What You Need to Know About Africa’s First Professional Basketball League, the BAL
We talked to John Manyo-Plange, Vice President of BAL, the NBA's new league in Africa.
In February, the National Basketball Association announced the launch of the Basketball Africa League, or BAL, their first professional basketball league outside North America. The launch of a league in Africa comes at a time when African talent is flourishing in the NBA, both on the court and in the front office.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Greek-Nigerian, won the Most Valuable Player award last season, while Masai Ujiri, an English-born Nigerian, built the Raptors team that won the title last year. On that Raptors team were also, Pascal Siakam, a Cameroonian, and Serge Ibaka, a Congolese man.
In August, John Manyo-Plange was announced as the Vice President & Head of Strategy and Operations for the BAL. Manyo has been working with the NBA for almost a decade to popularize basketball across the continent of Africa. He helped launch the NBA Africa office in South Africa in 2010, and before that he spent 14 years in the New York office of the NBA, holding various positions management positions.
The BAL will begin play in 2020, and we recently got a chance to talk to Manyo about ambitions for the league, as well as some of the difficulties that have come from launching such a grand project.
Read on for our interview with the the Vice President of BAL below.