The National Basketball Players Association and the NBA announced the roster for the league’s first-ever exhibition in Africa. A total of 17 All-Star players, including Miami Heat’s captain Luol Deng, will participate in the game.
It took nearly a year of planning and recruiting, but the league has finalized its roster and the two teams that will compete in the game. Fans can expect the NBA to announce its rosters this week.
Loul Deng was named captain of Team Africa. Deng was born in Sudan, and his teammates are all first- and second-generation descendants of families who were born in Africa.
Other players on Team Africa include: Serge Ibaka (Congo), Al-Farouq Aminu (Nigeria), Bismack Biyombo (Democratic Republic of Congo), Nicolas Batum (Cameroon), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Nigeria), Festus Ezeli (Nigeria), Boris Diaw (Senegal), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon) and Gorgui Dieng (Senegal). Popvich will coach the team.
Deng stated that he was proud to be a part of the league’s first exhibition game in Africa. The captain participated in the Basketballs without Borders camps in Johannesburg.
Chris Paul, L.A. Clipper’s guard, will lead Team World with a roster that includes Marcus Smart, Pau Gasol, Jeff Green, Marc Gasol, Bradley Beal, Nikola Vucevic, Evan Turner and Kenneth Faried. Lionel Hollins, Brooklyn Nets coach, will coach Team World.
Chris Paul stated that he looked forward to leading Team World and his first visit to the continent.
The exhibition game is scheduled to take place on August 1 at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Arena, and will have a format of Team Africa vs. Team World. Fans can catch the game live at 9 AM ET. The exhibition game will benefit local charities, like the Boys and Girls Club of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Rumor has it that the arena’s 5,000 seats are already sold out.