The NBA, which launched the Basketball African League (BAL) during the 2020 All-Star weekend, will begin its inaugural season on May 16th.
The BAL will feature 12 teams around Africa that will each play 26 games. All the games will be played in Kigali Arena in Rwanda. Originally, the BAL was supposed to debut March 13th, 2020, but COVID-19 put a halt in their plans. This league will be the first NBA collaborated basketball league outside of North America.
“We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena. 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.”BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall
Each BAL team is only allowed to have four foreign players on their roster, and two of those spots have to be men from different countries in Africa. 12 teams will be split into two different conferences, and play 26 regular season games. The 12 countries in which teams are coming from are Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda.
Many great NBA players have grown up in Africa, such as Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam, Dikembe Mutombo, Manute Bol, and Serge Ibaka. The Basketball Without Borders camp, a basketball camp that is organized by the NBA and FIFA has helped spot some of this young talent, and with a basketball league coming to Africa, the game’s popularity will rise, and more kids will grow up wanting to play basketball. In Europe and Africa, soccer is still very much the most popular sport. By creating a league, the NBA will also have access to up and coming prospects in Africa who wouldn’t have gotten much exposure, therefore given the league a better chance to succeed.
I have no doubt this league will be great, and can’t wait for it to start! Let me know your thoughts about the league below, don’t forget to follow the blog, and as always, have an awesome day!