The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced the rosters for the first game to ever be played in Africa.
The exhibition game will take place Aug. 1 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa, and will have a Team Africa vs. Team World format. The game will benefit charities such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The team from Africa will have players that were born in Africa and second-generation African players.
Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum, Toronto Raptors center Bismack Biyombo, San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw, Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng, Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka and Sacramento Kings forward Luc Mbah a Moute round out the rest of Team Africa’s roster. Ibaka will not play in the game due to a knee injury.
“I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA’s first game in Africa,” Deng said. “Coming from South Sudan and having participated in the Basketball without Borders Africa camps in Johannesburg previously, I am truly honoured to be part of this historic event.”
Team World will feature team captain, NBPA President and Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies forward Jeff Green, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics forward Evan Turner and Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic.
“I look forward to representing Team World in the first NBA game in Africa,” Paul said. “It will be my first visit to the continent, and I cannot wait to contribute to the growth of the game on and off the court.”
Gregg Popovich of the Spurs will coach Team Africa, and Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins will lead Team World.
Those expected to attend the game include NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon and NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
ESPN will televise the game live at 9 a.m. ET. on Aug. 1.
- Scooby Axson