JOHANNESBURG – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have announced the full rosters for the first NBA game in Africa, which will take place Aug. 1 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa. Charlotte Hornets guard/forward Nicolas Batum will participate in this historic game as a member of Team Africa.
The sold-out NBA Africa Game 2015 will feature a Team Africa vs. 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 U.S. 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 Batum (Charlotte Hornets; France; parent from Cameroon), team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; Great Britain; born in South Sudan), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers; U.S.; parents from Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; parents from Nigeria), 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; U.S.), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; U.S.), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls; Spain), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies; U.S.), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics; U.S.), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; U.S.) 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.
Friday, July 31 will mark the third consecutive year that NBA players will visit SOS Children’s Village Ennerdale, an organization 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.
*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 honored 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 honored to be representing Team Africa in what is truly a historic occasion.”
About the NBA
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around three professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League. The league has established a major international presence with offices in 13 markets worldwide, games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages, and NBA merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on 6 continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2014-15 season featured a record 101 international players from 37 countries and territories. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, which is available in 60 million U.S. homes, and NBA.com, which recorded 26.9 billion page views during the 2013-14 season, with more than half of all visitors originating from outside of North America. The NBA is the No. 1 professional sports league on social media, with more than 850 million likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league and its teams and players have donated more than $260 million to charity, completed more than 3.3 million hours of hands-on community service, and created more than 970 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play.
About the NBPA
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) is the union for current professional basketball players in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Established in 1954, the NBPA mission is to ensure that the rights of NBA players are protected and that every conceivable measure is taken to assist players in maximizing their opportunities and achieving their goals, both on and off the court. For more information, go to www.nbpa.com.