The National Basketball Association announced Wednesday that it will play its first game in Africa this summer.
The game will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on August 1, the league said. The announcement was made during a press conference held by by NBA Africa Vice President and Managing Director Amadou Gallo Fall, South Africa’s Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula and U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick S. Gaspard.
— US Embassy SA (@USEmbassySA) April 22, 2015
The two teams that will face off are Team World, which will be captained by the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, and Team Africa, which will be captained by the Miami Heat’s Luol Deng, who was born in South Sudan.
“I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA’s first game in Africa,” said Deng in a statement.
Paul echoed his excitement for the game, noting it will be his first time visiting Africa.
“I cannot wait to contribute to the growth of the game on and off the court,” Paul added in a statement.
Paul and Deng will be joined by former players and coaches including 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year, Mike Budenholzer, of the Atlanta Hawks, NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon, San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“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,” Silver said.
The NBA opened its offices in Johannesburg in 2010. Thirty-five players from Africa have entered the league since Hakeem Olajuwon was drafted in 1984, the league said.
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