Former President Barack Obama to join NBA Africa as strategic partner, minority owner

Former President Barack Obama to join NBA Africa as strategic partner, minority owner
The NBA announced Tuesday that former United States President Barack Obama is joining NBA Africa as a strategic partner. The league has been steadily growing its presence across Africa, most recently helping establish the Basketball Africa League (BAL), which kicked off its inaugural season in May.
Barack Obama et al. standing in front of a crowd
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“President Obama will help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts across the continent, including programs and partnerships that support greater gender equality and economic inclusion. In this capacity, President Obama will have a minority equity stake in the new venture, which over time he intends to use to fund Obama Foundation youth and leadership programs across Africa.”

This is a significant announcement for the NBA, which just recently established NBA Africa in May to oversee the league’s business in Africa. When NBA commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement of the creation of NBA Africa, he spoke about the league’s interest in continuing to grow the game of basketball all the way down at the grassroots level up to the professional ranks, and this new inclusion of President Obama will certainly help attain that goal.

“The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States — using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent,” Obama said. “By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people. I’ve been impressed by the league’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership shown by so many African players who want to give back to their own countries and communities. That’s why I’m proud to join the team at NBA Africa and look forward to a partnership that benefits the youth of so many countries.”

Since the league established its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2010, the number of NBA players who hail from different countries in Africa has steadily increased. During the 2020-21 season there were a total of 55 players who were either from a country in Africa, or had family ties over there. With players like Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam being huge success stories after attending basketball and training camps led by the NBA when they were younger, its opened the league’s eyes to how global the game can really be.

The continued investment, and now the involvement of Obama, will ensure that not only is the NBA helping to grow the game of basketball in Africa, but also that its interest extends beyond the basketball court in a responsible way.

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Former President Barack Obama joins NBA Africa as strategic partner

President Barack Obama will help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts across the continent, including programs and partnerships that support greater gender equality and economic inclusion.

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA and WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced that former President Barack Obama has joined NBA Africa as a strategic partner.

President Obama will help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts across the continent, including programs and partnerships that support greater gender equality and economic inclusion.  In this capacity, President Obama will have a minority equity stake in the new venture, which over time he intends to use to fund Obama Foundation youth and leadership programs across Africa.

NBA Africa conducts the league’s business in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League (BAL), which held its inaugural season in May featuring 12 of the top club teams from 12 African countries.  NBA Africa is focused on expanding the NBA’s presence in priority African markets, deepening the league’s engagement with players and fans across the continent, and continuing to grow Africa’s basketball ecosystem through programs like the Jr. NBA, Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa and NBA Academy Africa.  In addition, NBA Africa has launched several social responsibility initiatives aimed at raising awareness of gender-based violence, supporting girls’ education, and improving the livelihoods of African youth and families.

“The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States—using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent,” said President Barack Obama.  “By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people.  I’ve been impressed by the league’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership shown by so many African players who want to give back to their own countries and communities.  That’s why I’m proud to join the team at NBA Africa and look forward to a partnership that benefits the youth of so many countries.”

“We are honored that President Obama has become a strategic partner in NBA Africa and will support our wide-ranging efforts to grow the game of basketball on the continent,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  “In addition to his well-documented love for basketball, President Obama has a firm belief in Africa’s potential and the enormous growth opportunities that exist through sports.  NBA Africa will benefit tremendously from his engagement.”

“We have ambitious growth plans for NBA Africa and having President Obama join our efforts is a recognition that through sport, Africa can take its rightful place on the world stage,” said NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams.  “We look forward to working with President Obama and our strategic investors to use basketball as an economic growth engine across the continent and as a platform to improve the health and wellness of one of the world’s youngest and fastest-growing populations.”

Strategic investors in NBA Africa include a consortium led by Babatunde “Tunde” Folawiyo, Chairman and CEO of Yinka Folawiyo Group, and Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation (HFP), led by Co-CEO Tope Lawani.  Additional investors in NBA Africa include NBA Legends Junior Bridgeman, Luol Deng (South Sudan), Grant Hill, Ian Mahinmi (France; ties to Benin), Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Joakim Noah (ties to Cameroon).

The NBA has a decades-long history in Africa and opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg in 2010.  Since then, the league’s efforts on the continent have focused on increasing access to basketball and the NBA through social responsibility, grassroots and elite development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, NBA Africa Games, the launch of the BAL, and more.

The inaugural BAL season was broadcast to fans in 215 countries and territories in 15 languages.  On Sunday, May 30, Zamalek (Egypt) defeated US Monastir (Tunisia) 76-63 to win the first BAL Championship.  Fans can follow @NBA_Africa and @theBAL on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama standing with his arms folded and smiling.
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Official portrait, 2012
44th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017
Vice President Joe Biden
Preceded by George W. Bush
Succeeded by Donald Trump
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
January 3, 2005 – November 16, 2008
Preceded by Peter Fitzgerald
Succeeded by Roland Burris
Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 13th district
In office
January 8, 1997 – November 4, 2004
Preceded by Alice Palmer
Succeeded by Kwame Raoul
Personal details
Born
Barack Hussein Obama II

August 4, 1961 (age 59)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)

(m. 1992)

Children
Parents
Relatives Family of Barack Obama
Residence Kalorama (Washington, D.C.)
Education Punahou School
Alma mater
Occupation
  • Politician
  • lawyer
  • author
Awards List of honors and awards
Signature
Cursive signature in ink.
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Website

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Barack Hussein Obama II (/bəˈrɑːk hˈsn ˈbɑːmə/ (

listen) bə-RAHK hoo-SAYN oh-BAH-mə; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American president of the United States. He previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008 and as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004.

Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. After graduating from Columbia University in 1983, he worked as a community organizer in Chicago. In 1988, he enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating, he became a civil rights attorney and an academic, teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Turning to elective politics, he represented the 13th district in the Illinois Senate from 1997 until 2004, when he ran for the U.S. Senate. Obama received national attention in 2004 with his March Senate primary win, his well-received July Democratic National Convention keynote address, and his landslide November election to the Senate. In 2008, he was nominated by the Democratic Party for president a year after beginning his campaign, and after a close primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. Obama was elected over Republican nominee John McCain in the general election and was inaugurated alongside his running mate, Joe Biden, on January 20, 2009. Nine months later, he was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Obama signed many landmark bills into law during his first two years in office. The main reforms that were passed include the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as ACA or “Obamacare”), although without a public health insurance option, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 served as economic stimuli amidst the Great Recession. After a lengthy debate over the national debt limit, he signed the Budget Control and the American Taxpayer Relief Acts. In foreign policy, he increased U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, reduced nuclear weapons with the United States–Russia New START treaty, and ended military involvement in the Iraq War. He ordered military involvement in Libya for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1973, contributing to the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. He also ordered the military operation that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden.

After winning re-election by defeating Republican opponent Mitt Romney, Obama was sworn in for a second term in 2013. During this term, he promoted inclusion for LGBT Americans. His administration filed briefs that urged the Supreme Court to strike down same-sex marriage bans as unconstitutional (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges); same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in 2015 after the Court ruled so in Obergefell. He advocated for gun control in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, indicating support for a ban on assault weapons, and issued wide-ranging executive actions concerning global warming and immigration. In foreign policy, he ordered successful military interventions in Iraq and Syria in response to gains made by ISIL after the 2011 withdrawal from Iraq, continued the process of ending U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan in 2016, promoted discussions that led to the 2015 Paris Agreement on global climate change, initiated sanctions against Russia following the invasion in Ukraine and again after interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, brokered the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran, and normalized U.S. relations with Cuba. Obama nominated three justices to the Supreme Court: Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were confirmed as justices, while Merrick Garland faced partisan obstruction from the Republican-led Senate led by Mitch McConnell, which never held hearings or a vote on the nomination. Obama left office in January 2017 and continues to reside in Washington, D.C.

During Obama’s terms in office, the United States’ reputation abroad, as well as the American economy, significantly improved.[4] Obama’s presidency has generally been regarded favorably, and evaluations of his presidency among historians, political scientists, and the general public frequently place him among the upper tier of American presidents.

 

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