As the storm raised over the African roots of France’s football World Cup winning team, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is to treat the world to yet another celebration of Africa’s roots and talents.
The association and the National Basketball Players Association announced on Friday that NBA players with direct ties to Africa will play a world team in the third NBA Africa Game next month in Pretoria, South Africa.
Luol Deng (Los Angeles Lakers, South Sudan), Bismack Biyombo (Charlotte Hornets, Democratic Republic of the Congo), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers, Cameroon) and Serge Ibaka (Toronto Raptors, Republic of the Congo) will be among the players competing for Team Africa in the Aug. 4 game at the Sun Arena, with Biyombo and Embiid the co-captains.
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Rudy Gay (San Antonio Spurs, U.S.) and Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks, U.S.) will serve as co-captains for a world team that also features Harrison Barnes (Dallas Mavericks, U.S.)and Danilo Gallinari (LA Clippers, Italy).
In the name of Nelson Mandela
The game will take place following the 16th edition of Basketball Without Borders Africa. In honor of the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, it will be played in support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Two previous games, in Johannesburg in 2015 and 2017, were sell-outs.
Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will attend the game along with Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and others.
There are more than 80 current and former NBA players from Africa or with direct family ties to the continent, the NBA said.
Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers, U.S., parents from Nigeria), Bismack Biyombo (Charlotte Hornets, Democratic Republic of the Congo), Cheick Diallo (New Orleans Pelicans, Mali), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon), Evan Fournier (Orlando Magic; France; parent from Algeria), Serge Ibaka (Toronto Raptors, Republic of the Congo), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (Oklahoma City Thunder, France, parent from Democratic Republic of the Congo), Pascal Siakam (Raptors, Cameroon), Luol Deng (Los Angeles Lakers, South Sudan) and Ian Mahinmi (Washington Wizards, France; parent from Benin)
Harrison Barnes (Dallas Mavericks, U.S.), Danilo Gallinari (LA Clippers, Italy), Rudy Gay (San Antonio Spurs, U.S.), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks, U.S.), Hassan Whiteside (Miami Heat; U.S.), John Collins (Atlanta Hawks, U.S.), JaVale McGee (Los Angeles Lakers, U.S.), Dennis Smith Jr. (Dallas Mavericks, U.S.) and Marvin Williams (Charlotte Hornets, U.S.) (Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris)