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The first National Basketball Association (NBA) Africa game will
take place on Saturday – but the sold-out event does not feature any African
South Sudanese-born and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng of the
Miami Heat will captain Team Africa, which consists of first- and
second-generation players from the NBA.
The game aims to promote the development of basketball in Africa,
but according to the vice-president and managing director of NBA Africa, Amadou
Gallo Fall, the NBA had not intended to select players from African
“The Africa game is an NBA game just like the All-Star game – only
players from teams in the NBA can participate,” he said.
Cyril Shabalala, who is captain of the Duzi Royals, which plays in
the Basketball National League (BNL), commended the NBA for hosting the Africa
game, saying it would help to promote the sport – but expressed his
disappointment that there were no BNL players in the match.
“It’s great that the NBA is hosting its first game that will put
Africa on the map, but I would have loved it if they had worked hand-in-hand
with the BNL.
“Most players from the domestic league don’t even have tickets to
attend the game,” he said.
Shabalala hopes that corporate South Africa will start investing in
local teams instead of foreign ones to help develop basketball in the
Fall said the NBA’s focus was to improve domestic African
“Maybe in future we will have games against one of the African
league teams, but right now we are focusing on strengthening the development of
the sport through programmes like Basketball without Borders,” said Fall.
National Basketball Players’ Association president and eight-time
NBA All-Star player Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers will captain Team
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