The second season of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) started last weekend in Dakar, Senegal. Twelve teams will compete this season for the BAL title. Last year, Egypt’s Zamalek won the championship.
The Basketball Africa League (BAL) has announced the “BAL Elevate,” a new program that will see one NBA Academy Africa prospect join each of the 12 Basketball Africa League teams for the league’s 2022 season.
The inaugural Basketball Africa League Elevate program will feature 12 prospects from six African countries who currently attend NBA Academy Africa, an elite basketball training center in Saly Senegal, for the top high-school age prospects across Africa.
The program will provide an opportunity for the next generation of African prospects to participate in the new professional league, showcase their talent on a global stage and help their respective teams compete for the 2022 Basketball Africa League Championship.
“We believe BAL Elevate will be immensely valuable to the 12 Basketball Africa League teams and to the young men from NBA Academy Africa who are ready to contribute at the professional level alongside the best players on the continent,” said BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall.
“There is a natural synergy between the BAL and NBA Academy Africa, and this program will provide another pathway for elite African prospects to reach their potential as players and people.”
The BAL is supported by America’s National Basketball Association (NBA) and FIBA, basketball’s international governing body.
It is the first time the NBA has put money into a league outside of North America. Soccer is the most popular sport in Africa, but with a number of NBA players who are either from Africa or have an African parent, the sport of basketball is growing fast.
There are about 50 NBA players with African roots. The most famous are Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors. The league is hoping to help little-known players improve their game and get attention. Last season, 15 scouts watched the league.