Former United States President Barrack Obama has joined National Basketball Association (NBA) Africa as a strategic partner to help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts across the continent, including programs and partnerships that support greater gender equality and economic inclusion.
In this capacity, President Obama will have a minority equity stake in the new venture, which over time he intends to use to fund Obama Foundation youth and leadership programs across Africa. NBA Africa conducts the league’s business in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League (BAL), which held its inaugural season in May featuring 12 of the top club teams from 12 African countries.
In a statement, Barack Obama said The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent.
“By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people. I’ve been impressed by the league’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership shown by so many African players who want to give back to their own countries and communities. That’s why I’m proud to join the team at NBA Africa and look forward to a partnership that benefits the youth of so many countries,” he said.
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League. The NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) also jointly operate the Basketball Africa League (BAL).
NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams said the association have ambitious growth plans for NBA Africa and having President Obama join our efforts is a recognition that through sport, Africa can take its rightful place on the world stage,” said
“We look forward to working with President Obama and our strategic investors to use basketball as an economic growth engine across the continent and as a platform to improve the health and wellness of one of the world’s youngest and fastest-growing populations,”he said.
Strategic investors in NBA Africa include a consortium led by Babatunde “Tunde” Folawiyo, Chairman and CEO of Yinka Folawiyo Group, and Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation (HFP), led by Co-CEO Tope Lawani. Additional investors in NBA Africa include NBA Legends Junior Bridgeman, Luol Deng (South Sudan), Grant Hill, Ian Mahinmi (France; ties to Benin), Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Joakim Noah (ties to Cameroon).
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