Basketball Africa League: Professional competition to launch in 2020





Congo-born Charlotte Hornets centre Bismack Biyombo playing in the NBA

The National Basketball Association and the International Basketball Federation are to launch a professional league in Africa in January 2020.

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) will feature 12 teams from at least six African countries.

Fiba Africa’s executive director, Alphonse Bile, said the league will help players compete in the “best possible environment”.

Charlotte Hornets’ Bismack Biyombo is one of 13 African players in the NBA.

Bile said: “The implementation of this league is vital to our young up-and-coming players in Africa as it gives them something to take aim at.”

Fiba secretary general Andreas Zagklis added: “It’s a huge joy to see our partnership with the NBA enter unchartered territory as we work together for the first time to maximise the potential of professional basketball in Africa.”

Former US president Barack Obama has backed the plans, while NBA legend Michael Jordan, who is now the Charlotte Hornets chairman, was at the launch event in North Carolina.

Former US president Barack Obama tweeted his support for the new league

How will the league work?

The NBA and Fiba will conduct qualification tournaments to identify which teams from several African countries, including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia, can compete in the league.

No more than two teams from the same country will be eligible to play in the league.

The NBA has seen 80 current and former players from Africa or with family links to the continent compete, including Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon from Nigeria and Dikembe Mutombo from the Democratic Republic of Congo.



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