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NBA notes: Amadou Gallo Fall is named president of Basketball Africa League

Basketball Africa League
Sport Basketball
Founded 2019
Inaugural season 2020
No. of teams 12
Countries Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) is a proposed 12-team men’s basketball league scheduled to begin play in January 2020. The planned format is to be similar to the UEFA Champions League and Africa Basketball League. The league will be a joint effort between the National Basketball Association and FIBA with sponsorship from the Jordan Brand and Pepsi.

@NBA_Africa

History

On February 16, 2019 the National Basketball Association and FIBA announced plans to establish a continental professional basketball league. During a press conference at the 2019 NBA All-Star weekend NBA commissioner Adam Silver elaborated on plans to establish the league. Stating the league will feature 12 teams after qualification tournaments late in 2019. Countries announced that could possibly host a team include; Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. Silver also hinted at the involvement of former U.S. president Barack Obama in an unspecified/still unknown role.

NBA notes: Amadou Gallo Fall is named president of Basketball Africa League
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The NBA has selected Amadou Gallo Fall as president of the Basketball Africa League, it was announced Tuesday. Amadou Gallo Fall has been with the NBA since January 2010.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity,” Fall said. “I am grateful for the trust that NBA commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum have given me to lead this new initiative for the NBA in Africa that is also affiliated with FIBA. We’re looking forward to getting it off the ground. We’re working closely with FIBA to build a compelling property. There is tremendous opportunity to grow the game of basketball in Africa, which is why we opened our office in 2010.

“In the close to 10 years that we’ve been on the ground, we’ve made a lot of progress. We have a robust grassroots infrastructure.”

The BAL will be a 12-team league that is scheduled to start play in 2020 under the supervision of the NBA and FIBA, the world’s governing body of basketball. It marks the first time that the NBA will help operate a league outside of North America.

Fall is currently the NBA’s vice president and managing director for Africa, where the league has been heavily involved in developing youth programs, including the NBA Academy Africa, Jr. NBA and Basketball Without Borders Africa.

More than a dozen players born in Africa were on rosters to open the NBA season, including 10 directly involved with development programs on the continent, the NBA reported.

“Amadou’s efforts to grow basketball and the NBA’s business across Africa have been extraordinary, and he is an ideal choice to lead the Basketball Africa League,” said Mark Tatum, the NBA’s deputy commissioner and chief operating officer. “This historic initiative will not only further enhance the game in Africa but also provide new opportunities in media, technology and infrastructure on the continent.”

Fall, who is from Senegal and joined the NBA in 2010, helped open the league’s office in South Africa as well as a basketball academy in his native country. He will move into his new role immediately while assisting in the search for his replacement.

Champions of six African leagues will qualify for the BAL, which will run from March through May next year. The other six teams will be selected through qualification tournaments.

Teams from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia are expected to be among the competitors. The NBA says no more than two teams from one nation can qualify for the BAL.

@amadougallofall

He has overseen significant growth in the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa, highlighted by three sold-out NBA Africa Games in support of charities including UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.  

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Under Fall’s leadership, the NBA has expanded its grassroots and elite development efforts across the continent, including the Jr. NBA, Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa and The NBA Academy Africa. This year, the NBA plans to reach more than 2.5 million boys and girls ages 16 and under through Jr. NBA programs in 21 African countries. BWB, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program, has been held in Africa 16 times, with 10 former BWB Africa campers drafted into the NBA.

Fall was instrumental in opening The NBA Academy Africa in May 2017, where 25 elite male prospects ages 14-20 have received scholarships and training after scouting programs conducted with local federations across the continent. Three NBA Academy Africa graduates have gone on to commit to NCAA Division 1 schools.

Fall is a recipient of multiple leadership awards for his contribution to the growth of the game of basketball and youth development on the African continent. This includes African Leader 4 Change (2017) and the South African Sport Industry’s Leadership in Sport (2018).

Fall previously worked for the Dallas Mavericks, starting as a scout in 1998 before ultimately becoming Director of Player Personnel and Vice President of International Affairs, when he served as the team’s international goodwill ambassador and oversaw scouting assignments. He helped start Basketball Without Borders Africa in 2003 and served as Camp Director until 2010.

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Fall is also the Founder of SEED (Sports for Education and Economic Development), a global non-profit organization established in 1998 with the mission of using sport as a vehicle to inspire, empower and support the holistic development of promising African youth, preparing them to become global citizens. 

He is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), where he played center on the basketball team. Fall was inducted into the UDC Athletics Hall of Fame on February 15, 2019.

Introduced to Africa around the 1960s basketball has become a very popular sport. After more people took notice and practiced, professional teams were formed. The managers of the first African National Federation decide to participate and compete in FIBA, which is the world basketball governing body. Held on the 30th and 31st of August 1960 the FIBA Congress allowed the Egyptian Basketball Federation to set up an institution in order to compete. This led to the integration of twelve African countries to join FIBA and the world stage. These countries include Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Morocco, Libya, North Rhodesia, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Togo. Currently, FIBA Africa grew to a point where every single country in Africa has a designated team, leading to 54 active teams in the institution.

The activities of the youth program Basketball Without Borders in Africa, and program director Masai Ujiri, are profiled in Hubert Davis‘s 2016 documentary film Giants of Africa.

In My Words | Amadou Fall

I’m Amadou Ndiaye Fall, but everyone calls me Am. I’m from Senegal, which is in West Africa. I have three brothers and two sisters, and I’m the youngest one. My dad is a retired principal, and my mom is an advisor in high school.

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I started playing basketball two years ago. I was doing other sports. I started karate when I was 4 or 5 years old. My dad started me on that. I played soccer in the streets like every other African kid with my friends.

My brother used to play basketball at school and on the streets with his friends, and I would watch. I liked it, and one day they told me to get a ball and a pair of shoes. We didn’t have basketball shoes, but my mom gave me shoes in exchange for getting a good grade in math. 
 
I started playing basketball when I was 15, and that’s when I started growing. I found out about an Academy call SEED, and I showed it to my parents and they liked it. That summer they recruited me to go there. That’s how it all started.

I wasn’t very good. That’s when I saw the real world of basketball with the rules and everything, way different than the streets. I started getting into it, and they brought me to the BWB camp. NBA players have been there, and my second year, I got a scholarship in St. Louis. That’s how I came to the U.S. 

I never thought about coming to the U.S. until I started playing basketball. Once you get there, the only goal in your life is to go to the U.S. to play basketball. I just followed the path.

There are a lot of different languages, and I speak four. In Senegal, you start learning English in high school, but I don’t know if that really helps. I went to a six-week summer class in Chicago to learn English when I got to the U.S.

We started practicing right when I got to St. Louis, and coaches were there every day. One day, we were having an open gym, and Coach Beane was there. Then, he was there another day with Coach Autry. That’s when I got offered by SIU. I started searching the internet about it, and I liked it.

I tore my ACL last year, and I was scared, but my family back home kept pushing me, and coaches, especially here, told me that I would come back even stronger. It felt like everybody was backing off me after I was injured; but now, it just makes me glad I’m a Saluki. Go Dawgs. I always believed I was going to be fine. I couldn’t do anything about it, so I just kept working, trying to get it stronger. And It’s really starting to feel good.

On the court, I like playing on the post, and I love the relationship with the guards, the pick-and-rolls, and everything that helps my team win. I met the older guys on my visit, but I hadn’t met any of the other freshmen until I got here this summer. Sam and Dave were the first ones in the dorms, and they were pretty cool with me. We all like Chili’s, so we went to Chili’s all the time together.

Since I speak four languages, I’ve at least been able to speak at least one language in every country I’ve visited. But in Cuba, they speak Spanish, and I couldn’t communicate with people. That was fun, though. We went everywhere together, and I played American football in the ocean with Sam, Darius, Dave, and Gooch. I was the quarterback. They were all bad; I was the best one.

It’s next-level here. The way we practice is way different compared to back home. The speed, playing with a clock, and everything.

Beyond basketball, I’m just trying to do well at school with the grades. I want to get a degree in finance because my parents always tell me that everybody knows that a basketball career won’t last forever, and we all are going to get older one day. 

On the court, we just want to make history, and then we freshmen will be the next generation. We’re watching our six seniors, seeing what they’re doing, and then we’ll follow their path. When our time comes, we’re going to kill it.

Amadou