Popular
Greek-Nigerian forward Giannis Antetokounmpon. Image via Flickr.

The NBA Is Officially Launching the 'Basketball Africa League' in 2020

President Obama will be involved with the establishment of the league.

The NBA is officially heading to the continent.

The professional basketball association has announced that it will launch the Basketball Africa League next year which will feature 12 teams from across the continent, reports CNN. Participating countries include Angola, Egypt, Rwanda, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia.

The league is a collaboration between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), notes CBS News.


"The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa," said NBA commissioner Adam Silver 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 league will host qualification tournaments later this year.

The NBA has maintained somewhat of a presence on the continent by hosting the NBA Africa game annually since 2016. Cameroonian center of the 76ers Joel Hans Embiid, Nigerian players Victor Oladipo and Giannis Antetokounmpon as well as Congolese player Serge Ibaka of the Toronto Raptors are just some of the players with African roots who currently play in the NBA.

The establishment of a league on the continent is intended to help unify the continent's various independent teams and offer more exposure and resources.

President Barack Obama, a known basketball lover, congratulated the association's move via Twitter and pointing out the unique opportunity it presents for the continent. According to Tim Reynold's of the Associated Press, the former president has expressed a desire to be directly involved with the league.

"I hope you know through sport that if you put in effort you will be rewarded, I hope you learn through sport what it means to play as a team and that even if you are the best player your job is not just to show off but your job is to make your teammates better," said Obama, in a video shared on the NBA's Twitter account, which also features Rwanda's President Paul Kagame.

We're anxious to see what this could mean for the many talented basketball players on the continent. The league will debut in January 2020.

Popular
Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Thandiswa Mazwai to Host 'Play Your Part Africa' Virtual Concert

'King Tha' will commemorate Africa Day with a virtual concert set to take place on May 30th.