The NBA is no longer a purely American league. Last season, 108 players from 42 countries were under contract with the teams – 22% of all players came from outside the United States.
In recent years, the NBA has been growing outside its usual territory with preparatory matches in Europe or Asia.
Regular season games also took place in Mexico last year. In this year's Summer League, the national teams from Croatia and China were present. In Africa, the league regularly hosts programs with the "Basketball Without Borders" program.
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Schröder and Nowitzki at the show
Among other things, Dennis Schröder was at the NBA Africa Game 2017 in Johannesburg. The German international has roots in The Gambia. There, he and other NBA players of African descent faced Team World. In 2017, Dirk Nowitzki also played.
An even bigger boom in basketball in Africa may soon see the light of day when NBA boss Adam Silver recently introduced the Basketball Africa League (BAL).
Twelve teams from unknown African cities will arrive in Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and Monastir or Tunis (both in Tunisia).
The final will be held in Kigali (Rwanda). There are two conferences with six teams each and five games per team. The top three teams from each conference will meet in the final six before the BAL winner is named in the final four.
"A dream came true for all of us, I was lucky enough to be able to play this game and I've always dreamed of having something like that on our continent," said Dikembe Mutombo , NBA Hall of Fame member, of Congolese origin, from the US portal The unbeaten after the announcement of the new league, which must begin in March of next year.
African talent soon in the NBA?
The league has also entered into a multi-year partnership with Nike and the Jordan brand with support from the NBA.
The conditions for a basketball boom in Africa are therefore given, as the enthusiasm of the African population for the NBA has been uninterrupted for years.
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In this context, the league wishes to propose for the first time next year a special league pass to the African continent.
And who knows, maybe in the next season only, the first player with a history of BAL will be in the NBA.