Former US President Barack Obama has bought a minority share of NBA Africa, the National Basketball Association announced Tuesday.
NBA Africa was established this year to oversee the league’s commercial activities on the continent.
The NBA said in a statement that Obama is a strategic partner and will use any profits from the new entity to “fund the Obama Foundation’s youth and leadership programs across Africa.”
NBA Africa was created in May as a partnership between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation. The Basketball Africa League, the continent’s first professional basketball league consisting of top teams from 12 countries, is part of the entity.
The league resumed play for the first time in May after being delayed for a year by the coronavirus pandemic.
African NBA Scout Eyes Talent at the BAL Tourney
Sarah Chan, manager of Africa Scouting for the 2019 NBA champion Toronto Raptors team, says the BAL tournament will be a breeding ground for the next generation of African athletes.
The NBA has had a presence in Africa for decades. It opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg in 2010 and has since promoted basketball through NBA Africa Games, the introduction of the BAL, social responsibility initiatives, corporate partnerships and player development.
“I am impressed by the league’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership shown by the many African players who want to give back to their countries and communities,” Obama said in an NBA press release.
“That’s why I’m proud to be on the team in NBA Africa and I look forward to a partnership that benefits young people from so many countries.”
Voice of America Radio simulated 26 BAL games in English and French and provided play-by-play coverage in Bambara, Kinyarwanda, Wolof and Portuguese for games involving teams from Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Angola and Mozambique.
Broadcasts were broadcast on more than 30 VOA-owned and operated FM radio stations in 16 African countries and were available to VOA’s network of commercial and public radio stations across the continent.
Information from Reuters and AP was used in this report.