On Saturday, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced their intention to launch the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a new professional league featuring 12 club teams across Africa.
The BAL will be built on the foundation of current club competitions FIBA is organizing in Africa. Scheduled to begin play in January 2020, the BAL will mark the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.
The announcement was made by FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the NBA All-Star 2019 Africa Luncheon in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“On FIBA’s behalf, it’s a huge joy to see our partnership with the NBA enter unchartered territory as we work together for the first time to maximize the potential of professional basketball in Africa.
This is a natural extension of what we have done through the joint initiative that is Basketball Without Borders (BWB), which helps find, develop and nurture young talented players all around the world, including in Africa.
The Basketball Africa League will enable us to build on the solid foundation laid by FIBA Africa and relaunch the continent’s club competition to offer the ultimate platform for the very best clubs and players.”
The NBA and FIBA plan to conduct qualification tournaments later this year to identify the 12 teams that would represent several African countries, including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia, with no more than two teams from the same country able to qualify.