Paul, Deng, Gasols headline NBA Africa Game
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today the full rosters for the first NBA game in Africa, which will take place August 1 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The sold-out NBA Africa Game 2015 will feature a Team Africa v Team World format and will be played in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The game will air live in the US on ESPN at 9:00 a.m. ET and in Africa on SuperSport at 3:00 p.m. CAT.
Team Africa, comprised of players born in Africa and second-generation African players, will feature team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; Great Britain; born in South Sudan), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers; US; parents from Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; parents from Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets; France; parent from Cameroon), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors; Democratic Republic of the Congo), Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs; France; parent from Senegal), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal), Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors; Nigeria), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo)*, and Luc Mbah a Moute (Sacramento Kings; Cameroon).
Team World, comprised of players from the rest of the world, will feature team captain, NBPA President and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; US), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; US), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; US), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls; Spain), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies; US), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics; US), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; US) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic; Montenegro).
Five-time NBA Champion Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa, with 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams serving as assistant coaches. Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King and Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri are the Team Africa general managers, with Eric Waters (Washington Wizards) serving as the team’s athletic trainer.
Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins will coach Team World, with Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens serving as assistant coach. San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford is the Team World general manager, while Keon Weise (Orlando Magic) will be the team’s athletic trainer.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will attend the game along with NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria).
The game will take place following the 13th edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program that has reached 1 000 campers from 31 African countries since 2003.
As part of BWB and NBA Africa Game efforts, NBA Cares, the league’s global social responsibility program, and the NBPA Foundation will host a series of events to leave a lasting legacy in the community. With support from Ford, local youth will participate in a Jr. NBA clinic on Wednesday, July 29 at the American International School of Johannesburg. Also at the school, Hoops 4 Hope will conduct life skills sessions presented by South African Airways. NBA players, coaches and legends will hold sessions on leadership and health and wellness for BWB campers throughout the week.
Members of the NBA family will gather at the newly built Boys & Girls Club at Protea Glen on Thursday, July 30 for a basketball court dedication and clinic presented by NIKE.
NBA Africa Game 2015 partners also include Econet Global Limited, the Official Mobile and Telecommunications Partner of NBA Africa Game, and 947.
Friday, July 31 will mark the third consecutive year that NBA players will visit SOS Children’s Village Ennerdale, an organisation that builds families for orphaned and abandoned children. NBA Cares and the NBPA Foundation have undertaken their largest commitment to the village to date, working on a range of projects from the refurbishment of the local library to the construction of a new basketball court.
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. The NBA opened an office in Johannesburg in 2010.
For more information, fans can visit nba.com/africa; Facebook.com/Africa and Twitter @NBA_Africa and use the hashtag #NBAAfricaGame.
*Will not play due to injury
“I look forward to representing Team World in the first NBA game in Africa,” said Paul. “It will be my first visit to the continent, and I cannot wait to contribute to the growth of the game on and off the court.”
“I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA’s first game in Africa,” said Deng. “Coming from South Sudan and having participated in the Basketball without Borders Africa camps in Johannesburg previously, I am truly honoured to be part of this historic event.”
“When I heard about the NBA Africa Game I jumped at the chance to participate,” said Pau Gasol. “The continent of Africa has a special meaning for me through my Foundation. I look forward to putting on a great show for the fans and taking part in activities in the local community.”
“I am thrilled to be taking part in the first ever NBA game in Africa,” said Diaw. “With deep rooted ties to Senegal, I am honoured to be representing Team Africa in what is truly a historic occasion.”