Finally! The long-waiting NBA’S new Basketball African league will debut on May 16 in Kigali (Rwanda). The new league was initially planned to be played in more than one country across Africa before but it is now expected to debut its 26 inaugural-season games at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda.
The BAL (a partnership between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation) has stated that the new Basketball league will comprise only 12 teams from Africa and this is the first time the NBA will be collaborating to operate a league outside North America.
According to the BAL, the league was supposed to debut on the 13th of March last year, beginning in Dakar (Senegal), but it was postponed as a result of a coronavirus pandemic 10 days before the initial due date.
BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall: “We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena. Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture.”
The FIBA Africa and BAL board president, Anibal Manave, was excited about the first inaugural season of the Basketball African league: “We are extremely happy to finally launch the highly anticipated first season of the BAL. FIBA and the NBA have been working closely together to develop protocols to address the health and safety of all players, coaches, and officials. The experience of hosting the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers in Rwanda late last year will contribute to a safe and successful inaugural BAL season.”
The new NBA’S Basketball African league will tip off with an 18-game group phase with the 12 teams divided into three groups of four. Each team will tie up against the three other teams in their respective group once during the group stage.
All the top teams from the group phase will progress to the playoffs and face each other in a single-elimination style in all three rounds. Lastly, the first BAL finals will hold on the 30th of May.
The 12 teams to participate in the competition include:
The six teams from countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia gained automatic qualification to participate in the inaugural Basketball African league season as being champions of their national leagues. The remaining six teams from Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, and Rwanda earned their participation in the competition via the BAL qualifying tournaments that were conducted by FIBA’s African regional office across the continent at the later part of the year 2019.