First NBA Game in Africa

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First NBA Game in Africa

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced that the first NBA game in Africa will take place on August 1, 2015 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa. The game featured a Team Africa vs. Team World format and was played in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Team Africa, comprised of players from Africa and second-generation African players, will feature team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng of the Miami Heat (South Sudan), Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka (Congo-Brazzaville) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Gorgui Dieng (Senegal).

Team World, comprised of players from the rest of the world, will feature team captain and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers (U.S.), Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards (U.S.) and Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets (U.S.).

The game took following the 13th edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development program that has reached 1,000 campers from 31 African countries since 2003. Basketball without Borders Africa was held July 29-Aug. 1 at the American International School in Johannesburg.

The NBA has a long history in Africa with more than 35 players from the continent featured on NBA rosters since Hakeem Olajuwon was drafted in 1984. Through NBA Cares, 58 places to live, learn or play have been created in Africa, and Basketball without Borders Africa has been held 12 times on the continent. The league opened an African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010 and recently launched Jr. NBA leagues in Mozambique and Uganda as part of comprehensive grassroots programs across the continent. The NBPA Foundation is hosting three U.S. high school student leaders to join the professional players in this basketball and goodwill trip.

Team World defeated Team Africa 101-97. Behind a 39-20 fourth quarter, Team World rallied for the win. Bradley Beal led Team World with 18 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo led Team Africa with 22 points. Chris Paul (12 points) and Luol Deng (20 points) were named MVP’s of the NBA’s first game ever in Africa.

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