Kenya will be among countries selected to participate in a new basketball league in Africa run by the National Basketball Association (NBA) will feature 12 teams from several countries across the continent.
According to NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, the Basketball Africa League (BAL) will kick of next year.
The basketball Africa League tournament is a collaboration of NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and it will be the first league for NBA outside North America. The major announcement was made on Saturday during the NBA All-Star 2019 Africa Luncheon in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“On FIBA’s behalf, it’s a huge joy to see our partnership with the NBA enter unchartered territory as we work together for the first time to maximize the potential of professional basketball in Africa,” said FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis. “This is a natural extension of what we have done through the joint initiative that is Basketball Without Borders (BWB), which helps find, develop and nurture young talented players all around the world, including in Africa. The Basketball Africa League will enable us to build on the solid foundation laid by FIBA Africa and relaunch the continent’s club competition to offer the ultimate platform for the very best clubs and players.”
The NBA and FIBA plan to conduct qualification tournaments later this year to identify the 12 teams that would represent several African countries, including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia, with no more than two teams from the same country able to qualify.
BASKETBALL AS ECONOMIC ENGINE
Adam Silver said NBA is committed to use basketball as an economic engine in the continent.
“The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa,” said Silver. “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 NBA also announced its plan to introduce a re-imagined direct to consumer offering of NBA games for fans in Africa by the start of the 2019-20 NBA season. The offering would include new packages, features and localized content, with additional details to be announced at a later date.
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League. The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.