Twelve African teams will feature in the maiden edition of the Basketball Africa League.
News Central gathered that Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers, Egypt’s Zamalek and ten other basketball teams will feature in the first Basketball Africa League, scheduled to get underway in Kigali on Sunday.
Rivers Hoopers, three-time Nigerian champions will face AS Douanes of Senegal, AS Police of Mali, AS Salé of Morocco, Cameroon’s FAP, Ferroviario de Maputo of Mozambique and Madagascar’s GNBC. Others are; GS Petroliers of Algeria, Rwanda Patriots BBC, Petro de Luanda of Angola and US Monastir of Tunisia.
The 12 teams are arguably the strongest in Africa and come from leading basketball nations on the continent.
The league is headed by former NBA Africa Managing Director, Amadou Gallo Fall and is sponsored by the NBA in collaboration with FIBA.
The competition is expected to help the NBA further expand its reach beyond North America with Africa seen as a rich talent hub for basketball.
Other partners of the BAL are Pepsi, Nike, Air Jordan, New Fortress Energy, with its media partners being Voice of Africa, BeinSport and others.
Superstar rapper, J.Cole also had his first training session with the Patriots B.B.C ahead of their opening game against Hoopers.
The Hoopers however have the biggest NBA experience in the tournament in former Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets Ben Uzoh is in the run-in.
Uzoh, born in the US and a former University of TULSA star played in more than 60 NBA games and also had stints in Mexico, Belgium, France, Russia and Nigeria. He also represented D’Tigers in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
He said he hopes to be a part of the BAL for the longer term either as a player, coach or executive and revealed his admiration with the quality of talents available in the maiden edition of the tournament.
Other than Uzoh, Rivers Hoopers center Chris Daniels is another experienced player having played five preseason games for the Brooklyn Nets in 2015 and also played in the G League.