The NBA makes its first move outside of North America with the announcement of a new league in Africa
The NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) will join forces to launch the new league in 2020. The league will consist of 12 teams coming from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia. Later this year, a qualifying tournament will be held in order to decide which 12 existing teams will advance to the league.
The reactions from people
The decision to launch the league has been met with praise online, including a comment from Barack Obama: “I’ve always loved basketball because it’s about building a team that’s equal to more than the sum of its parts,” he said on Twitter. “Glad to see this expansion into Africa because for a rising continent, this can be about a lot more than what happens on the court.”
What’s the importance of this move?
The prospect of an NBA-led African basketball league promises benefits that expand past the boundaries of the court. Attention to the league will bring media, technology, tourism, providing a general economic engine to African sports.
The move demonstrates the striking power of sports to affect society in general. The relationship between basketball and Africa is mutually beneficial, a more official basketball infrastructure can bring much to Africa as a country while previously unseen talent in Africa can help advance the game of basketball.