JOHANNESBURG, April 22, 2015 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today that the NBA’s first game in Africa will take place Aug. 1 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa. The announcement was made at a press conference in Johannesburg by NBAAfrica Vice President and Managing Director Amadou Gallo Fall, Hon. Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula and U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick S. Gaspard.
The game will feature a Team Africa vs. Team World format and will be played in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Team Africa will be comprised of players from Africa and second generation African players, and Team World will be comprised of players from the rest of the world. The game will air live in Africa on SuperSport.
Eight-time NBA All-Star and NBPA President Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers will serve as Team World’s captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng of the Miami Heat — born in South Sudan — will serve as Team Africa’s captain.
NBA executives, coaches, general managers and legends will also participate, including: 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King, NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon, San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri and New Orleans Pelicans Coach Monty Williams.
Full rosters of players, coaches and legends, along with ticket information will be announced at a later date.
The game will take place following the 13th edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development program that has reached 1,000 campers from 31 African countries since 2003
The NBA family led by the current and former players and coaches will also be participating in extensive community outreach efforts throughout the week including the creation of places where kids and families can live, learn or play in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa and the SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa that will leave lasting legacies in the community.
More than 35 players from Africa have played in the NBA since Hall of Famer and two-time NBA Champion Hakeem Olajuwon was drafted in 1984. The league has hosted events on the continent since 1993 and in 2010 opened its first office in Johannesburg. NBA Cares has built 38 places to live, learn or play on the continent.
“The NBA has worked hard to grow the game of basketball in Africa, and I am excited to take this next step of playing our first game on the continent,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Our players have been tremendous partners in this effort, and all of us look forward to sharing the authentic NBA experience and the values of our game with fans in Africa.”
“We recognize that the best ambassadors to grow the game globally are the players themselves,” said NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts. “The league and union have a powerful platform to welcome more players and fans to the sport, and build more opportunities for everyone to experience the game.”
“The NBA Africa Game marks a major milestone in our efforts on the continent, which began more than 30 years ago,” said NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa Amadou Gallo Fall. “It is a pivotal moment for the growth of basketball on the continent, and we are grateful to the Players Association, players and team personnel who have committed to be part of this historic event.”
“I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA’s first game in Africa,” said 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.”
“I look forward to representing Team World in the first NBA game in Africa,” said Paul. “It will be my first visit to the continent, and I cannot wait to contribute to the growth of the game on and off the court.”
“This great match-up could not have come at a better time for South Africa. I have no doubt that it will demonstrate the unifying nature of sport, particularly as a team from all four corners of Africa will play Team World,” said Acting CEO of SuperSport Brandon Foot.” “For local fans of the NBA, the opportunity to watch a game on local soil is tremendous. SuperSport looks forward to broadcasting this milestone game across the continent.”
“We are excited that the NBA is going to be hosting its first game on the continent in South Africa,” said Hon. Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula. “This is a major event in our sports calendar this year and I look forward to welcoming NBA current and former players, coaches and team personnel to Johannesburg.”