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The Rise Of The New Basketball Africa League
On Sunday, May 16, the Basketball Africa League (BAL) made its official debut after having to be pushed back an entire year due to the pandemic and the COVID-19 restrictions. In partnership with the NBA, the BAL will include 12 teams from 12 African countries.
The league made waves when rapper J. Cole was spotted in Rwanda and his name was found on the roster for the country’s team. Soon after, videos began circulating of the rapper shooting his first free throws in his new gig.
The professional competitive sports league first took place in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. The overall intention of the Basketball Africa League is to help restore the economy in Africa and scout the top talent within these eastern countries.
NBA, commissioner Adam Silver, is seeking to reestablish the competitive sport of basketball because Africa is home to a billion people who have a deep admiration for the sport. Many popular athletes have come from African countries like the Democratic Repuplic of Congo, Cameroon, and Nigeria. Since 1971, there has been another Africa basketball tournament league that will be replaced with the newly established Basketball Africa League (BAL).
The inaugural season of the restructured basketball league already has teams from Morocco, Egypt, Angola, Tunisia, and Senegal leading the ranks as their athletes were considered national champions in previous years. The other 6 competitive teams that qualified for the BAL are from smaller countries — Cameroon, Algeria, Mali, Madagascar, Rwanda, and Mozambique.
All teams have been separated into 3 rankings where each team will face each other head-to-head in a special “knock-out” phase labeled as the quarter-finals of the league. There are 26 scheduled basketball games over a 2-week time span with the league’s champions being determined on May 30.
Games were expected to occur in 7 different African countries, in their respective professional basketball arenas, but with the risk of the coronavirus spreading; all games are to be held at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda.
The team’s in the Basketball Africa League will have 12 players on their roster, differing from the NBA’s 15 play-size team rosters. 8 of these players from each team must come from the home country they are representing in the tournament, and only 4 foreign players are allowed to play, two of which must come from African countries.
A minimum total of 120 players in the new African sports league will have to be of African heritage.