Obama becomes minority owner, strategic partner for NBA Africa

Former President Barack Obama’s investment in Basketball Africa will be used to support youth and leadership programming for the Obama Foundation across the continent. 

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Former President Barack Obama has hit another milestone.

America’s beloved first commander-in-chief has become a strategic partner and minority owner in the National Basketball Association (NBA)’s African league — Basketball Africa. 

U.S. President Barack Obama, theGrio.com
U.S. President Barack Obama plays basketball during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House tennis court April 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

NBA Africa oversees the Basketball Africa League which has seen investment from former basketball stars, Dikembe Mutombo, Grant Hill, and Junior Bridgeman.

Obama’s investment in the league will be used to support youth and leadership programming for the Obama Foundation across the continent, reports CNN.

The exact terms of Obama’s investment have not been disclosed. 

In a statement, the former president wrote, “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.

“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.”

The former president’s father was from Kenya on the east of the continent.

NBA Africa’s CEO Victor Williams reportedly wants to build corporate partnerships, expand content and media rights, and support local governments seeking to build new basketball arenas.

NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams, theGrio.com
NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams (Photo: NBA Africa)

The league is currently made up of 12 teams and games are broadcast to 215 countries and territories across the continent. 

According to CNBC, 55 players in the NBA are either native Africans or first-generation immigrants from the continent. The Basketball Africa League is being viewed as a new source for scouting and developing players. 

Former NBA players Luol Deng and Joakim Noah are investors in the NBA Africa league via Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation which also counts NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum on its board.

Silver shared a statement of glowing praise about the former president, writing, “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.”

“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.”

Former President Obama has long expressed his love for basketball, previously acknowledging that while he loved the sport, he did not possess the skills to go professional. Still, throughout his presidency, Obama often played basketball on White House grounds and even invited NBA stars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant to go head-to-head with him.

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