Former President Barack Obama had been linked to NBA Africa for a while — now he owns a piece of it.
The NBA announced that Obama is now a “strategic partner” and minority owner for NBA Africa, the league’s effort to both grow the game on the continent and promote social responsibility and equality. This includes the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a joint partnership of the NBA and FIBA, which just finished its inaugural season in May with a dozen teams participating (it was won by Zamalek out of Egypt).
Obama will “help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts across the continent,” the NBA said in its press release.
“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,” Obama said in a statement. “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.
“I’ve been impressed by the league’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership shown by so many African players who want to give back to their own countries and communities. That’s why I’m proud to join the team at NBA Africa and look forward to a partnership that benefits the youth of so many countries.”
“We have ambitious growth plans for NBA Africa and having President Obama join our efforts is a recognition that through sport, Africa can take its rightful place on the world stage,” NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams said via a statement. “We look forward to working with President Obama and our strategic investors to use basketball as an economic growth engine across the continent and as a platform to improve the health and wellness of one of the world’s youngest and fastest-growing populations.”
Obama will use any profits from his investment to fund the Obama Foundation’s youth and leadership programs in Africa, the NBA said.