In the NBA’s first game on the continent, it’s Africa vs. the world.
The league has released the names of players that will make up the two squads to compete in an exhibition game that will take place on Aug. 1 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The format will be Team Africa—made up of African-born and first-generation African players—competing against Team World.
Luol Deng, the Miami Heat forward who is a Sudanese-born Briton, will captain Team Africa. “I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA’s first game in Africa,” Deng said.
He will be joined by:
- Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu (Nigeria)
- Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo (Nigeria)
- Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum (Cameroon)
- Toronto Raptors center Bismack Biyombo (Congo)
- San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw (Senegal)
- Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng (Senegal)
- Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli (Nigeria)
- Sacramento Kings forward Luc Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)
Serge Ibaka, the Oklahoma City Thunder centre who hails from Congo Brazzaville will also be a part of the team but will not play due to injury. Team Africa will be coached by the San Antonio Spurs head coach and five-time NBA champion, Gregg Popovich.
Chris Paul, a point guard with the Los Angeles Clippers, who also happens to be president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), will lead Team World. “It will be my first visit to the continent, and I cannot wait to contribute to the growth of the game on and off the court,” he said.
His roster will be coached by Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins and is made up of:
- Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal
- Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried
- Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol
- Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol
- Memphis Grizzlies forward Jeff Green
- Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart
- Boston Celtics forward Evan Turner
- Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic
Africans have a long history in the NBA. There have been 35 African players to have played in the league since the drafting of the Nigerian Hall of Fame center and two-time NBA champion Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon in 1984, according to the NBA.
The game in Johannesburg will be broadcast live on ESPN in the US at 9:00am ET and in Africa on SuperSport at 3:00pm CAT.