The first-ever NBA exhibition game on the African continent will take place in a couple of days, and commissioner Adam Silver anticipates a day when preseason and regular season games will also make the long trip.
— NBA Africa (@NBA_Africa) July 30, 2015
For now, Silver says there’s still plenty of work to do in order to bring facilities up to NBA standards, but that he’s confident the League will continue to grow in Africa.
Chris Paul and Luol Deng will headline the exhibition game this Saturday in Johannesburg.
Per the AP:
“Stay tuned,” Silver said Thursday as 20 NBA stars, including Chris Paul and Luol Deng, prepare to play at a small arena in downtown Johannesburg — the first NBA game of any kind in Africa. “This is an experiment of sorts.” […] Although he didn’t give an exact time frame, Silver said a pre-season game and then a regular-season game on the continent was the logical progression for the NBA, which is on a “fast track” to build a brand in soccer-crazy Africa.
“Part of why I’m here is to continue to investigate new facilities,” Silver said. “We would want a larger, more modern arena for a regular or pre-season game here. And it’s also to test the response here. These things just take time, but I’m very confident that in the not-too-distant future we will be playing, to begin with, a pre-season game on the continent of Africa.”
There’s Paul, an eight-time All Star, who will captain Team World. Deng, a two-time All Star, will lead a Team Africa. Pau and Marc Gasol have also made the trip, as has San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and coach of the year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks. Also on the rosters are Al-Farouq Aminu and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who both have parents from Nigeria. […] This game’s the next step in the league’s links to Africa that began with the first-round draft of Hakeem Olajuwon by the Houston Rockets in 1984, Silver said. Olajuwon, who is from Nigeria and is part of this trip to South Africa as an NBA ambassador, went on to become a two-time NBA champion and 12-time All Star.