The National Basketball Association is set to play its first exhibition game in Africa. According to a statement by the NBA, the game will be held August 1, at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city, and aired live in South Africa and other African countries.
The exhibition game will feature South Sudan-born and Miami Heat star, Luol Deng and eight-time All-Star, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers. Deng will lead Team Africa against Team World, captained by Paul. The game will also feature high-profile NBA coaches, including coach of the year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks.
NBA Africa ambassador, Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria and NBA global ambassador, Dikembe Mutombo of Congo will be attending the exhibition game.
In a statement by NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, “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”.
The big step made by NBA is aimed at increasing basketball’s popularity in the Africa continent, which has soccer as the most popular sport. The event will aid the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Africa, the SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.