Former President Barack Obama, minority owner in African NBA affairs

U.S. President Barack Obama attends the game between the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers on October 27, 2015 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Gary Dineen | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama has become a strategic partner and minority owner in the African affairs of the National Basketball Association, which oversees the Africa Basketball League.

The NBA launched its African entity in May and values ​​the business as a nearly $ 1 billion business. NBA Africa oversees the BAL, which held its inaugural season last May, and has investors including Dikembe Mutombo, Grant Hill and Junior Bridgeman. The law said Obama will use his participation in NBA Africa to fund the Obama Foundation’s youth and leadership programs across Africa.

The terms of Obama’s participation have not been disclosed.

Under the direction of CEO Victor Williams, NBA Africa wants to establish corporate partnerships, expand content and media rights, and support local governments seeking to build new basketball arenas. The BAL includes 12 teams, and air league games in 215 countries and territories, and the NBA predicts that basketball will be a top sport across Africa in 10 years.

Currently, 55 players who are either from Africa or whose parents are native Africans play in the NBA. The team owners see the BAL as a way to scout and develop talent across the rapidly growing continent and another way to expand its global appeal. Sports betting partners could also try out new technologies in the league.

Nigeria-based industrial group Yinka Folawiyo Group and Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation, an investment company that sells on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “HFPC”, are investors in NBA Africa, alongside former NBA player Luol Deng and Joakim Noah are also investors. In addition, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum have seats on board.

Benjamin Chukwukelo Uzoh 2nd R of Rivers Hoopers of Nigeria joins Patriots Rwanda’s Wilson Nshobozwa during the opening game of the inaugural Africa Basketball League in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, on May 16, 2021.

Cyril Ndegeya | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

“The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States – using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, well-being, equality and ‘empowerment across the continent,’ ”Obama said in a statement. “By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating a love for the game of basketball, I believe the Africa NBA can make a difference for so many young Africans.”

Obama praised the “NBA’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership demonstrated by so many African players who want to give back to their countries and communities.”

“We are honored that President Obama has become a strategic partner in NBA Africa and will support our large-scale efforts to grow the game of basketball on the continent,” Silver added due to the statement. “In addition to his well-documented love for basketball, President Obama has a strong belief in Africa’s potential and the immense growth opportunities that exist through sport. NBA Africa will benefit tremendously from its commitment. “.

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