The NBA Brings Their Top Players To Host First Game In Africa

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The NBA is changing the game overseas. The Association’s top players will head to South Africa to play the first NBA game on the continent to benefit African charity organizations. Five-time NBA champion Gregg Popovich and Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins have formed two teams with Miami Heat player Luol Deng and Los Angeles Clipper Chris Paul as captains.

“I look forward to representing Team World in the first NBA game in Africa. 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,” Paul said.

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Today, thirty NBA teams house players from all over the world, raking in 101 international players this past season. This only represents a small portion of the organization’s efforts towards global involvement. The NBA held games and created programs in 215 countries and territories. In 2001, the organization paired up with FIBA to create global program Basketball Without Borders, camps that allow kids to be coached by NBA and WNBA players and drafted to professional teams. Since 2005, the NBA Cares program tackles social issues by providing resources to children and families worldwide. In 2010, Johannesburg, South Africa became home to an NBA global office with staff working towards their causes.

In two weeks, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association will advance its initiatives in Africa and support Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Taking place in Johannesburg, Basketball Without Borders Africa will hosts its 13th edition. NBA Cares and the National Basketball Players Association run programs with the help of Hoops 4 Hope, South African Airways, and NIKE. NBA players and coaches will build a basketball court, renovate a library and conduct seminars throughout the week. The festivities end with a sold-out game with NBA players going head-to-head in Team Africa vs. Team World at Ellis Park Arena.

“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,” Deng said.

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Team Africa consists of some the 35 African players the NBA has drafted since 1984 and players of one or more African parents. Players from the rest of the globe form Team World. The NBA announced the roster on Thursday (July 16). Check them out below.

Team Africa Roster
Luol Deng (Miami Heat; born in South Sudan), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers; both parents from Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; both parents from Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets; parent from Cameroon), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors; Democratic Republic of the Congo), Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs; one parent from Senegal), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal), Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors; Nigeria), and Luc Mbah a Moute (Sacramento Kings; Cameroon).
Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo) is injured.

Team World Roster
Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; U.S.), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.), Kenneth Faried(Denver Nuggets; U.S.), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain), Pau Gasol(Chicago Bulls; Spain), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies; U.S.), Marcus Smart(Boston Celtics; U.S.), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; U.S.) and Nikola Vucevic(Orlando Magic; Montenegro).

Tune into ESPN on Aug. 1 at 9 a.m EST or Africa’s SuperSport at 3:00 p.m. CAT to watch.