Johannesburg - The NBA put on a show in its first exhibition game in Africa on
Saturday - starting with a dunk straight from the tip-off by Luc Mbah a
That had the crowd roaring early at Ellis Park Arena in
downtown Johannesburg and it got even louder when African NBA legends
Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo stripped off their business suits to
don their old team uniforms again and play for a little while in the
The 52-year-old Olajuwon, in a Houston No 34
jersey, pulled off a turn-around jumper - the "Dream Shake" - that had
the current NBA stars leaping off the benches with their arms in the
After a relaxed first half, the game got serious in the
second: Chris Paul's Team World rallied with a 14-0 run in the
fourth quarter to beat Luol Deng's "home" Team Africa 101-97.
Bradley Beal led Team World with 18 points while Paul had 12.
Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points for Team Africa, with
Deng adding 20.
But this game was largely about the entertainment
factor, with cheerleaders and several NBA team mascots mixing it up with
Even the timeouts were used for stunts:
Team Africa coach Gregg Popovich's took one in the second quarter that
wasn't used for a team talk but to give everyone a chance to watch fans
breakdance alongside San Antonio mascot Coyote, Philadelphia's Franklin,
and Atlanta's Harry the Hawk. Even Popovich, the five-time NBA winning
coach, had a big grin.
At the start of the third quarter, Paul
decided that was enough fooling around, hitting three straight
3-pointers to bring the "visiting" team back.
After Jeff Green's
dunk and a lay-up by Evan Turner, Team World was suddenly leading 85-78
and the crowd had a proper game.
Team World led 99-95 with 7.1 seconds when Green was fouled and made both free throws to seal the game.