The NBA announced on Saturday that they will be starting a new basketball league in Africa.
The Basketball Africa League will be a joint effort between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) with a planned launch in 2020. The 12 teams on the continent will represent Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia. It's the NBA's first attempt to operate a league outside of North America.
“The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. “Combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media, and technology across Africa.”
The teams will be chosen from among already existing professional teams in Africa. A qualifying tournament is being planned for later this year to determine which 12 teams will make the leap to the new league.
The decision to launch a new basketball league in Africa was met with applause around the internet. Former President Barack Obama cheered the decision to launch a new league.
"I've always loved basketball because it's about building a team that's equal to more than the sum of its parts," he said on Twitter. "Glad to see this expansion into Africa because for a rising continent, this can be about a lot more than what happens on the court."