NBA to play exhibition game in South Africa Aug. 1

The NBA will play its first exhibition game in Africa this summer.

The league and the National Basketball Players Association announced Wednesday that the game will take place Aug. 1 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The game and will have a Team Africa vs. Team World format. Miami Heat forward Luol Deng — born in South Sudan — will captain the African team and Los Angeles Clippers guard and NBPA president Chris Paul will lead the world team.

The announcement was made at a press conference in Johannesburg by NBA Africa vice president and managing director Amadou Gallo Fall, Honorable Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula and U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick S. Gaspard.

“The NBA has worked hard to grow the game of basketball in Africa, and I am excited to take this next step of playing our first game on the continent,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Our players have been tremendous partners in this effort, and all of us look forward to sharing the authentic NBA experience and the values of our game with fans in Africa.”

The game will be played in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

“We recognize that the best ambassadors to grow the game globally are the players themselves,” NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said. “The league and union have a powerful platform to welcome more players and fans to the sport, and build more opportunities for everyone to experience the game.”

Team Africa will be comprised of players from Africa and second generation African players, and Team World will be comprised of players from the rest of the world.

NBA executives, coaches, general managers and legends will also participate, including: 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins, Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King, NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens, Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri and New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams.

Full rosters of players, coaches and legends will be announced at a later date.

“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 honored to be part of this historic event.”

More than 35 players from Africa have played in the NBA since Hall of Famer and two-time NBA champion Olajuwon was drafted in 1984. The league has hosted events on the continent since 1993 and in 2010 opened its first office in Johannesburg.

“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.”

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