The NBA is in discussions over hosting a preseason game in Africa for the first time, Basketball Africa League (BAL) president Amadou Gallo Fall told ESPN.
The NBA has previously been involved in three exhibition games in Africa in 2015, 2017 and 2018 — all featuring top NBA talent between Team Africa and Team World. However, these latest talks have centered around having two NBA teams face off on the continent.
“This was always part of the plan,” Fall, speaking at the BAL combine in Paris, told ESPN.
“Those Africa games that were hosted before, the crowds were just incredible. I know this is going to happen, and it is in the plans.”
Sources at the NBA have told ESPN the league has yet to discuss when or where the game could take place, although it could be as soon as the 2024 preseason. The location of the game would likely be at a venue already hosting BAL games.
“There are definitely plans to bring two actual NBA teams to the African continent, and of course we will find plans to build BAL activations into that,” BAL vice president John Manyo-Plange told ESPN.
The NBA already has roots in Africa, partnering with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) on the BAL, which is set to begin its third season on March 11. It also has regional offices in Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos (Nigeria) and Dakar (Senegal).
The BAL hosted a combine in an eastern suburb of Paris on Sunday and Monday as it looks to attract players from across the African diaspora to the league.
“We are looking for a way for us to expose African club teams to global talent in a way they do not usually have access to,” Manyo-Plange said.
“In the past, before the BAL, African teams signed foreign players without even seeing them play. This gives us a chance to have teams and expose them to this kind of talent in a place that makes it easier for them to come together.”
The NBA will host its second regular-season game in Paris on Thursday, with the Chicago Bulls facing off against the Detroit Pistons at the Accor Arena.