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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 at 9:20 am  |  17 responses

Denver Nuggets GM: African Basketball Has ‘Huge Potential’


Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri, born in Nigeria, says that the continent of Africa has an incredible amount of untapped hoops potential. From the Denver Post: “Africa is perhaps the game’s last great untapped resource. It has exported some notable stars, including Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo and Luol Deng, but from a continent of 1 billion people, the basketball exports to date are a drop in the ocean. ‘Being from here, you see the huge potential,’ Ujiri said this week by phone from Madagascar, site of the African Basketball Championship. ‘We lack coaching, we lack infrastructure and we lack a little bit organization. But we’re working hard with the national federations and FIBA (the International Basketball Federation) and the NBA to bring everything together and develop the young kids.’ Thursday through Sunday, Ujiri will co-direct the annual Basketball Without Borders camp for 60 elite players ages 16-18 from all over the continent. This year, it’s in Johannesburg, South Africa…’When you see the huge potential in the continent you wish that one day you could just open your eyes and every country has 10 gyms or 15 gyms and tons of outdoors courts where kids can just play anytime they want,’ Ujiri said. ‘But that’s not the case now. We hope to get it there one day.’ The Basketball Without Borders African camps, which Ujiri has been directing since 2003, have already begun sending players to the NBA.”

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  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    AFRICA HAS TREMENDOUS POTENTIAL, FOR ALOT MORE THAN JUST BASKETBALL.

  • nastruthomas

    The Air Up There

  • robb

    wherever there is athleticism, there is huge potential.

  • EJ

    Duh, like 80% of the league is black.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    ^ WOW.
    Really? Someone went there?

  • LA Huey

    ^LOL. I guess you may as well get those jungle bunnies right from the motherland. smh

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Someone wake me up when Solomon Alabi finds his HUGE potential, a player that Masai Ujiri urged the Raptors to take when he was with them.

  • AD

    it time for these superstars to give back to the mother land…. they have way more than enough money

  • http://dfklf.com Jukai

    Someone should just ban EJ. I’ve read enough of his comments to figure out where his head is at.

  • EJ

    Just asking what was so wrong with what I said? I just thought since African Americans are originally from Africa, so they’re genetically built very similarry in general. Just like American whites and Europeans.
    Maybe kind of stereotyping, but most of them aren’t complete bs. And nobody seems to have a problem with calling Europeans unathletic, I don’t, and I’m kind of European I guess.

  • http://slamonline.com kiwi_intheUK

    would anybody agree that the league is about 90% black, and SLAMonline readers are about 90% white? i agree with comment one – AFRICA has a lot of potential in various areas – although China is gladly funding dicatators in search of cheap resources on the back of instability.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ LOL, coming from someone who lives in the United Kingdom?
    Sorry, but EVERY conflict and crisis in Africa today is a direct result of the colonialist, and now neo-colonialist practises by Western nations–none more so than the United Kingdom. China funds dictatorships? Like what, Sudan?
    Hmmm, funny that “Great” Britain, during almost 60 years of colonial rule in Sudan, continually neglected and marginalized the black Africans of Southern Sudan (ie. Darfur) in favor of Islamic fundamentalists in the North. In fact, when Great Britain pulled out of Sudan, they left behind a system of governance that heavily favored the Islamic North while under-representing the black Africans of the South (which includes Darfur). Remind me again who fought who in the Sudanese Civil War? North and South. And why? Tension fomented through years of divide-and-conquer by the white BRITISH imperialists.
    So yeah… China benefits from instability? Remind me again who backed the overthrow of Muomar Gaddafi in Libya, the richest nation in Africa?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    If anything, NATO involvement in Africa is what’s crippling development there. The Chinese, though self-serving, at least make an effort to improve infrastructure. Well, more like build, because there barely is any infrastructure to “improve” upon. The Europeans designated Africa as a source for raw materials and stifled their industrialization for over a century.
    American and European tied-”aid” is a load of BS that simply does not work. After hundreds of years of “trading” with Europe and the former imperial powers, tell me why does only 29% of Africa have access to electricity?
    No country in the world supports more military dictatorships than the Britain and the United States, by the way.
    Also, since the inception of the People’s Republic of China, they have always supported independence movements in Africa. This portrayal of China as the big bad wolf in Africa by Western media is an absolute farce. There IS a scramble right now for Africa’s resources, but believe me, it isn’t the Chinese you need to worry about. Look up “AFRICOM” and tell me that doesn’t sound like 21st Century colonialism?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Sorry for my ranting, but this stuff really irks me.
    Here is a very well-argued piece in support of Chinese-African relations that exposes the hypocrisy of Britain, and its attempts at turning Africans against the Chinese:
    http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2011-08/04/content_23142335.htm

  • EJ

    I hope kiwi shoots somebody in the nuts and sees how wrong he is about China.

  • DeeDaw

    @Teddy-the-Bear:

    You make very valid point about Britain, America, France, Belgium, Portugal, and all former colonizers of Africa. But, as someone who has family both in east and west Africa, I can tell you that what the Chinese are doing right now is no different then what the former colonizers did. It is actually veiled in terms of “economic partnership/development”. But, Africans have to blame themselves for continually letting outsiders dictate how they use their resources and how they treat their own people. Until the right leaders stand up and learn to see neo-colonialism by China, Iran, Russia for what it is.. Africa will be doomed.

    It is okay to engage in trade with another country, but don’t just allow them to walk into your country and dump cheap products that stifle local competition, build shotty roads,bridges (infrastructure), and destroy wildlife and natural resources in the name of “trade” and “business”.

  • http://SportsCipher.com Jaamal Braithwaite

    Just imagine more refine and skilled players with athleticism like Bismack Biyombo or Serge Ibaka. Yea Africa could be a hotbed for NBA or Euroleague players.

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