Back in February, we reported that former President Barack Obama and the NBA teamed up to establish a new professional basketball league in Africa. Nike and Jordan Brand joined as outfitters for the new league.
During NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, the league announced a partnership with FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, to create the Basketball Africa League. The Basketball Africa League will consist of 12 teams across the continent and debuts in March 2020, with qualifying tournaments to be held later this year.
The new league will hold its first scouting combine in Brooklyn, NY on Wednesday and Thursday at the Brooklyn Nets’ Hospital for Special Surgery Training Center, where the participating players will be out through hi-tech anthropometric and athletic testing, positional skill development and 5-on-5 games.
The aspiring players will display their talents for various scouts, coaches and executives from the teams participating in the inaugural BAL season, a league source informed The Shadow League.
Former NBA players Jordan Adams, Rodney Carney, Yahkouba Diawara, Tim Quarterman, and Chris Smith are scheduled to try out along with 20 former G League ballers.
The combine will be run by former NBA head coach P.J. Carlesimo, who will serve as camp director. Carlesimo will have a staff of seasoned NBA coaches and players assisting; former NBA coach Paul Westhead and former players Charlie Bell, Jaren Jackson and Theo Ratcliff.
The Associated Press reported last February that Obama is “among those who are expected to have direct involvement with the league’s plan to keep growing the game in Africa through the league and other initiatives.”
Obama wrote in a tweet, “always loved basketball because it’s about building a team that’s equal to more than the sum of its parts.
According to FIBA, no more than two teams from any African country will be able to qualify for the BAL. The countries will hold tournaments to determine the 12-team field include Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia.
The BAL season kicks off March 2020 and will take place in Cairo; Dakar, Senegal; Lagos, Nigeria; Luanda, Angola; Rabat, Morocco; and Monastir, Tunisia.
The first BAL Finals takes place in Kigali, Rwanda.