The NBA will play its first-ever exhibition game in Africa on Aug. 1 in Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. Team Africa will play against Team World to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Team Africa will be comprised of African players and second-generation NBA stars of African descent, including Luol Deng, Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw. Team World will be an amalgam of players from different countries, including Chris Paul and the Gasol brothers. Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa, while Lionel Hollins will lead Team World.
A host of other coaches, executives and even commissioner Adam Silver will be present for the event.
"I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA's first game in Africa," said Deng, one of the most accomplished African players in the league. "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."
Holding this event in Africa is a great thing for the league to do. The desire to reach big emerging markets like China and the interest in growing the popularity of the game in Europe have led the NBA to play abroad before. Africa had been relegated, likely due to not presenting huge economic opportunities, despite being a consistent provider of NBA talent. That won't be the case anymore.
Coaches: Gregg Popovich, Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams.
Players: Luol Deng (Miami Heat; Great Britain; born in South Sudan), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers; US; parents from Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; parents from Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets; France; parent from Cameroon), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors; Democratic Republic of the Congo), Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs; France; parent from Senegal), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal), Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors; Nigeria), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo)*, and Luc Mbah a Moute (Sacramento Kings; Cameroon).
*Will not play due to injury
Coaches: Lionel Hollins, Brad Stevens
Players: Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; US), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; US), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; US), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls; Spain), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies; US), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics; US), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; US) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic; Montenegro).
ESPN will broadcast the event at 9 a.m. ET on Aug. 1.