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