NBA will play its first game in Africa on August 1, the association announced on Wednesday.
The match between Team Africa and Team World will take place at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa.
— NBA (@NBA) April 22, 2015
Team Africa will be led by two-time NBA All-Star Luol Ajou Deng, who was born in South Sudan. The team will constitute first and second generation African players. Thunder forward Serge Ibaka and Timberwolves forward Gorgui Dieng expressed their excitement to participate in the exhibition match, as per ESPN.
Team World will be captained by eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.
According to BBC, Deng, who played for Team Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, said, “I am truly honored to be part of this historic event.”
— Luol Deng (@LuolDeng9) April 22, 2015
Also taking part will be NBA executives, coaches and general managers; among these will be 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King, NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon, Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens, Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri and the New Orleans Pelicans Coach Monty Williams.
Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, said, “The NBA has worked hard to grow the game of basketball in Africa, and I am excited to take the next step of playing our first game on the continent.
“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.”
According to the official website of NBA, the game will be played as an extension to the 13th edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa, a basketball development program initiated by NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
Since the program conducted its first-ever camp at the American International School of Johannesburg in 2003, the program has brought together more than 1000 campers from 31 African countries.
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