NBA's Inaugural Basketball Africa League Announces Debut

Set to begin its first season this May 2021 in Rwanda.

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NBA‘s latest Basketball Africa League (BAL) has officially announced its long-awaited debut. The first BAL season will begin on May 16 in Kigali, Rwanda.

The BAL league is developed as a partnership between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation. The league not only includes club teams from Africa but will also mark the NBA’s first collaboration of the sport to operate outside of the league’s main North American base.

BAL was initially scheduled to make its debut on March 13, 2020 in Dakar, Senegal but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was postponed. Now, the new league is slated to make its start with 12 teams across Africa for its inaugural season in 26 games at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda.

BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall told ESPN, “We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena. Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture.”

Champions from the national leagues in Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia were able to earn their spot in the inaugural season whereas Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda secured their participation through qualifying tournaments hosted by BAL in 2019.

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