National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner Adam Silver has reiterated his belief that Africa will be the next major frontier in the league’s global expansion.
Speaking before game one of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors, Silver pointed to the fact that four players across both teams were either born in Africa or had African parents.
“I think it absolutely speaks to the opportunity across the roughly 55 countries of Africa,” said Silver.
“It’s one of the places we’re looking in the world where we see enormous opportunity.”
The NBA will partner with Fiba to start The Basketball Africa League next year – the first time it has operated a league outside of North America. The league will feature 12 teams from across the African continent.
The two organisations also run the Basketball Without Borders Africa development and community outreach programme to engage young players in 21 African countries, while the NBA also hosts a regular pre-season game on the continent.
Silver added that digital technology provided the league with the best opportunity to connect with African audiences.
“I think ultimately it’s because of transformational nature of digital media where in Africa, a continent of over a billion people, where there are something like 700 million cell phones, 400 million of which are smart phones,” he said.