HARARE - Zimbabwe telecommunications giant, Econet Wireless Global Limited has scored a first by being named as one of the partners for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) first ever Africa Game.
Econet, with over nine million subscribers in Zimbabwe, have been named the event’s official mobile and telecommunications partner joining other global brands like Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, Nike, South African Airways and SuperSport.
The game will be branded Team Africa vs. Team World and will be held at the Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 1.
Team Africa, comprised of players from Africa and second-generation African players, will feature team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng of the Miami Heat, who was born in South Sudan, Serge Ibaka of Oklahoma City Thunder, born in Congo and Gorgui Dieng of the Minnesota Timberwolves originally from Senegal.
Team World will comprise of players from the rest of the world and will feature team captain and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards and Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets.
“This is an historic moment for the NBA and the sport of basketball in Africa, and we are excited to work with such a broad range of partners to make this game possible,” said Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA vice president and managing director-Africa.
“The game will impact young people throughout the continent, both on the court and in the community, as we bring some of the world’s most recognizable athletes to Johannesburg to celebrate our long tradition in Africa.”
The NBA has a long history in Africa with more than 35 players from the continent featured on NBA rosters since Hakeem Olajuwon who was drafted in 1984.
Through NBA Cares, 58 places to live, learn or play have been created in Africa, and Basketball without Borders Africa has been held 12 times on the continent.
The league opened an African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2010 and recently launched Jr. NBA leagues in Mozambique and Uganda as part of comprehensive grassroots programs across the continent.