Masai Ujiri is pushing for an NBA game in Africa
The NBA has established itself as an international force in the world of sports. As it stands today, its games are aired in 250 countries and territories in 50 different languages. The league has taken note of its global popularity, and for the first time, a regular season game was played in London. Now, after leading Toronto to its first championship in franchise history, Masai Ujiri is pushing for an NBA game in Africa.
“It’s going to come, and I guarantee it’s going to be the Raptors,” Ujiri said with a smile during Tuesday’s season-ending press conference. “(Commisioner) Adam (Silver) is going to kill me for saying this right now.”
The NBA already has its Global Games, which features games played outside of the United States and Canada. Africa, however, has yet to be included in a regular season NBA contest. That doesn’t mean basketball isn’t popular in Africa, though, because it certainly is. In fact, the NBA has kept a presence in the country for years, and several of its most iconic players hail from that region of the world (see Dikembe Mutombo, Hakeem Olajuwan and Manute Bol — to name a few).
In April, the NBA announced their partnership with FIBA in creating the Basketball Africa League, which will feature 12 teams from across the continent.
“This league will be fully operated by the NBA,” Amadou Gallo Fall, the NBA’s vice president for Africa, told Reuters by phone from Johannesburg. “Our expertise and best practices will be on display.”
Whether or not the NBA will choose to play a regular season game in Africa remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Masai Ujiri would like the Raptors to be given the honor.