The US National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) plan to launch a professional basketball league in Africa called the Basketball Africa League featuring 12 teams from the continent, according to multiple US news outlets.
The Basketball Africa League would be made up of 12 teams from nine countries including Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, and Senegal.
A report from the Hill indicates that former US President Barack Obama would be involved in the project although his exact role has not been made public. Obama is an avid basketball fan and was known to have coached his daughter Sasha’s basketball team at the White House. He is said to have given up playing the game due to knee concerns.
Of the proposal, Obama says he is “glad to see this expansion into Africa for a rising continent.” He made this known on Twitter.
His tweet: I’ve always loved basketball because it’s about building a team that’s equal to more than the sum of its parts. Glad to see this expansion into Africa because for a rising continent, this can be about a lot more than what happens on the court.”
I’ve always loved basketball because it’s about building a team that’s equal to more than the sum of its parts. Glad to see this expansion into Africa because for a rising continent, this can be about a lot more than what happens on the court. https://t.co/lghcLaUN9a
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 16, 2019
Meanwhile, the proposed Basketball Africa League is scheduled for launch in January of 2020 and will be the NBA’s first collaboration to run a pro sports league outside of North America, according to a Bleacher Report.
“As we’ve been talking about this concept over the last several months, there’s been a tremendous reception from several of our NBA team owners,” reportedly says NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“Several of our partners have also expressed an interest to work with us in Africa,” Silvers adds.
The league will be co-run with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), whose executive director in Africa said Saturday that he was “excited” to work with the NBA to develop a league on the continent. The FIBA is a 213-nation association that governs the rules and equipment standards for the sport around the world.