The first NBA game in Africa featuring Team Africa against Team World is set for August 1 in Johannesburg.
The first NBA game in Africa is set for Aug. 1 in Johannesburg.
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According to a press release from the NBA's official website on July 16, the NBA Africa Game 2015 will feature Team Africa vs. Team World with the precise location being Ellis Park Arena.
The game will be for the benefit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children's Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Team Africa will be coached by Gregg Popovich and is comprised of NBA players born in Africa and those who are second-generation Africans. These players are Luol Deng, Al-Farouq Aminu, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Boris Diaw, Gorgui Dieng, Festus Ezeli, Serge Ibaka and Luc Mbah a Moute, per NBA.com.
Ibaka will sit the game out due to an injury, per the Spurs' official website.
On the other hand, Team World is made up of players born and raised elsewhere. The players are Chris Paul, Bradley Beal, Kenneth Faried, Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, Jeff Green, Marcus Smart, Evan Turner and Nikola Vucevic, per the NBA's official website.
Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams will serve as Popovich's assistant coaches. Billy King of the Brooklyn Nets and Masai Urirji of the Toronto Raptors will be the team's general managers.
Team World's head coach is Brooklyn Nets mentor Lionel Hollins. His lone assistant coach is Brad Stevens, head coach of the Boston Celtics. The San Antonio Spurs' R.C. Buford will serve as general manager.
The game will follow Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa, which is now on its 13th year. The NBA.com press release says an estimated 1,000 campers from 31 countries in the continent have benefited since the program was launched in 2003.
Since Hakeem Olajuwon's rookie year with the Houston Rockets in 1984, the NBA has featured more than 35 African players on different team rosters. As a testament to the NBA's commitment to developing basketball in Africa, it opened up a satellite office in Johannesburg five years ago, per its offiical website.
Miami Heat forward Luol Deng discussed the NBA Africa Game 2015's impact with ESPN's Michael Wallace on July 15:
"A lot of players from Africa and all over the world work so hard to make it to the NBA so they can represent their country with pride. Now, to finally have a chance to bring the game we all love home to Africa...it's hard to really explain how much that means.
"It will impact people the rest of their lives."
For his part, Pau Gasol, who is a forward-center for the Chicago Bulls, issued a statement (via ESPN) on what the game in Africa means to him:
"When I heard about the NBA Africa Game, I jumped at the chance to participate. The continent of Africa has a special meaning for me through my foundation. I look forward to putting on a great show for the fans and taking part in activities in the local community."
Wallace confirmed on Wednesday that all five thousand seats at the Ellis Park Arena are sold out.
The NBA Africa Game 2015 will be shown at 9:00 a.m. ET in the United States, per NBA.com.
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