As the NBA finally finds its footing this season because of the coronavirus, the league is ready to take over another continent.
Save for one team, the NBA is entirely a USA sport, but its popularity knows no bounds– just take a luck at the rabid fanbase in China. But now, the league is taking its talents to Africa, with the introduction of the NBA’s Basketball Africa League.
The long-awaited debut will kick things off May 16, nearly a year after its initial March 13, 2020 debut that was delayed because the pandemic shut down the world. Dubbed the BAL, the new league will include 12 teams from across Africa playing its inaugural season in 26 games at Kigali Arena in Rwanda. The tourney will conclude with the finals on May 30.
BAL is technically a partnership between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation and is the NBA’s first foray out of the 50 states.
“We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena,” said BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall. “Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture.”
While kicking off the new league, BAL officials will also make sure everyone stays safe and prevent a super spreader event by enforcing protocols by the guidance of public health officials and medical experts from the World Health Organization and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 12 continent-wide teams include Algeria’s GSP (Groupement Sportif des Pétroliers), Angola’s Petro de Luanda (Clube Atlético Petroleos de Luanda), Cameroon’s FAP (Forces Armées et Police Basketball), Egypt’s Zamalek, Madagascar’s GNBC (Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club), Mali’s AS Police (Association Sportive de la Police Nationale), Morocco’s AS Salé (Association Sportive de Salé), Mozambique’s Ferroviàrio de Maputo, Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers BC, Rwanda’s Patriots BC, Senegal’s AS Douanes (Association Sportive des Douanes) and Tunisia’s US Monastir (Union Sportive Monastirienne).
Be ready to tune in on May 16.