Basketball is soaring high in Africa

Exciting basketball action is expected on the court when players such as Washington guard Bradley Beal (pictured) visit SA for a week-long basketball training programme
in Joburg. PHOTO: John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images
Exciting basketball action is expected on the court when players such as Washington guard Bradley Beal (pictured) visit SA for a week-long basketball training programme in Joburg. PHOTO: John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images

This is thanks to the grass roots development programmes of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The sport has gained remarkable popularity across the continent, thanks to these programmes.

Amadou Gallo Fall, vice-president of NBA Africa, this week told City Press that there had been a dedicated effort to make the game accessible to all communities on the continent over the past five years.

“We’ve devised various development programmes, such as Power Forward in Nigeria; Live, learn, play in Senegal; the Junior NBA in Uganda and Mozambique; and the Royal Bafokeng NBA development programme in South Africa,” he said.

“We are also going to partner with Basketball SA to launch the Junior NBA to make sure South Africa is in the leading position,” he added.

Africa has supplied the NBA with a number of top players, such as Congolese-American Mutombo, South African Thabo Sefolosha and Luol Deng of South Sudan.

It is expected that more Africans will take up the sport professionally in the coming years.

“Since the launch of the Basketball without Borders programme, we’ve had eight players who were drafted to play in the NBA and we’ve had more than 35 players who have played or are currently playing in the NBA,” he said.

The number of players and supporters has also grown.

“The number of fans is growing as the game of basketball helps build communities through discipline and teamwork.

“Basketball players are global trendsetters through the technological aspect of the game and music,” Fall said.

The NBA will host the 13th annual Basketball without Borders event at the American International School of Johannesburg in Midrand.

Both boys and girls under the age of 18 will be allowed to participate in the week-long training programme, which will be managed by members of the world-famous NBA All-Star team.

SuperSport, Ford, Econet Global, Nike and SA Airways are corporate partners for the NBA Africa Game that will take place on August 1 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg.

Proceeds from the Team World vs Team Africa game will go to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Boys andamp; Girls Clubs of SA and SOS Children’s Villages Association of SA.

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