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NBA’s first game in Africa attracts world-class partners

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) today named Econet Global Limited, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, NIKE Inc., South African Airways (SAA), SuperSport, and 947 as partners for NBA Africa Game 2015.

The first NBA game in Africa will take place August 1 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The game will feature a Team Africa v Team World format and will be played in support of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages Association of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The game will air live in Africa on SuperSport.

Roster of Official NBA Africa Game 2015 Partners:

- Econet Global Limited – Official Mobile and Telecommunications Partner of NBA Africa Game 2015; co-branded NBA Africa Game marketing campaign across Africa

- Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa – Official Automotive Partner of NBA Africa Game 2015; presenting Partner of NBA Africa Game 2015 Fan Zone (more details on the Fan Zone will be announced soon); will host an NBA Cares clinic

- NIKE Inc. – Official Marketing Partner of NBA Africa Game 2015; partner of Basketball without Borders Africa 2015; NBA Cares partner for a new court at the Boys & Girls Club in Protea Glen, Johannesburg

- South African Airways – Official Airline Partner of NBA Africa Game 2015 transporting Team Africa and Team World players to South Africa; partner of Basketball without Borders Africa 2015

- SuperSport – Official NBA Broadcast Partner since 2013; SuperSport will broadcast the game live starting at 3:00 p.m. local time across Sub-Saharan Africa

- 947 – Official Radio Partner of NBA Africa Game 2015

“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.”

Team Africa, comprised of players from Africa and second-generation African players, will feature team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; born in South Sudan), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo) and Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal).

Team World, comprised of players from the rest of the world, will feature team captain and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; US), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; US) and Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; US).

Full Team Africa and Team World rosters will be announced soon.

The NBA has a long history in Africa with more than 35 players from the continent featured on NBA rosters since Hakeem Olajuwon 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.

For more information, fans can visit nba.com/africa; Facebook.com/Africa and Twitter @NBA_Africa. Fans can also download NBA Game Time, the official app of the NBA for news and updates, scores, stats, schedules, videos and more. NBA games, highlights and special programming are available on SuperSport.

 

July 2, 2015 By : Category : Afrobasket English featured 0 Comment

African trio on the free-agent frenzy

African trio on the free-agent frenzy

Luol Deng

The NBA free-agency period is due on Wednesday, and a number of high-profile players are set to decide their future destinations.

Among the six Africa-born NBA players who featured in the 2014-15 season, three may switch teams during this offseason.

NOTE – Restricted free agency means the team that owns the player’s rights may match offers. Player and team options must be decided on soon, typically by June 30.

While South Sudan native Luol Deng, an unrestricted free-agent, has opted into his $10.2 million 2015-16 salary with the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets centreBismackBiyombo as well as Philadelphia 76ers forward Luc Mbah a Moute are yet to decide their NBA future.

Unlike Deng, Biyombo, a restricted free-agent who was selected seventh overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Hornets, may be on the move, judging by his recent comments.

In the wake of last week’s NBA draft, Biyombo welcomed his fellow Congolese Emmanuel Mudiay who was selected seventh overall by the Denver Nuggets.

Then, on Monday, the Lubumbashi native took to his twitter account to appreciate the fans in Charlotte.

“I’m excited and look forward to my new home,” he twetted suggesting he is on his way out Hornets.

He went on to “appreciate the people in the whole organisation. You guys Have been great to me and I wish you nothing but the best. God bless,” he concluded.

During his four-year time with the Hornets, Bismack averaged 4.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in 21 minutes per game.

On the other hand, Cameroonian Luc Mbah a Moute, an unrestricted free-agent, continues to be linked to a number of teams including the New Orleans Pelicans, or even extend his stay in Philadelphia.

Back in April, the seven-year veteran said to Philadelphia local press: “I always thought they viewed me as part of what they were doing here.

“We will see what happens this summer. But pretty much what’s been kind of [established] is that I’m part of what they are trying to grow here. I’m part of the culture.”

Mbah a Moute has spent the first five seasons of his NBA career with the Milwaukee Buck. He had a short spell with the Sacramento Kings, and before he joined the Sixers, the Cameroonian played for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

List of top 10 free-agents:

1. LaMarcus Aldridge (Unrestricted), Power Forward, Portland Trail Blazers

2. Marc Gasol (Unrestricted), Centre, Memphis Grizzlies

3. Kawhi Leonard (Restricted), Small Forward, San Antonio Spurs

4. Kevin Love (Unrestricted), Power Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers

5. Jimmy Butler (Restricted), Shooting Guard, Chicago Bull

6. DeAndre Jordan (Unrestricted), Centre, Los Angeles Clippers

7. Draymond Green (Restricted), Power Forward, Golden State Warriors

8. GoranDragic (Unrestricted), Point Guard, Miami Heat

9. Paul Millsap (Unrestricted), Power Forward, Atlanta Hawks

10. Brandon Knight (Restricted Free Agent), Point Guard, Phoenix Suns

Note – Four-time MVP LeBron James has reportedly opted out with the Cleveland Cavaliers but is expected to re-sign with the team.

July 1, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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NBA more international than ever

NBA more international than ever

Festus Ezeli

NBA players born outside the USA continue to strive in the league as we have never seen before.

Official figures from the National Basketball Association (NBA) showed that a record 101 international players from 37 countries and territories were on opening night rosters for the 2014-15 seasons.

That figure marked the first time the NBA had more than 100 international players.

Three decades on, since the beginning of an influx of Europeans, Africans, Asian and South Americans, the NBA has become an international showpiece, giving plenty of reasons to call the national champions the world champions.

Looking at the 2015 Finals in which the Golden State Warriors won their second title since 1975, six international players – Andrew Bogut and Mathew Dellavedova

June 30, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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Espoir completes league season on high note

Espoir completes league season on high note

Espoir will face tough task holding CSK’s Buzungu in the play-offs series

National basketball league

Saturday

Espoir 93-80 IPRC-Kigali

30-Plus 35-76 APR

Women

UR- CASS 58-57 The Hoops

Friday

CSK 87-80 IPRC-Kigali

REIGNING CHAMPIONSEspoir basketball club has had another bright league season after completing the season mauling IPRC-Kigali 93-80 in a tight match played on Saturday.

Espoir finished on top of the table in the regular season with 35 points after winning 17 matches and losing only once. They are closely followed by Patriots BBC on 32 points and APR BBC on 31 points.

In the women category, APR thrashed 30-Plus 76-35; UR-College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS) narrowly won 58-57 over The Hoops Rwanda.

APR women basketball club are champions with 15 points secured in 15 matches won and lost once. Last year’s champions Ubumwe have dethroned as they finished second with 14 points.

After the regular league, action will continue with Play-offs scheduled to begin over the weekend.

Besides Espoir, other teams which qualified for the play-offs include;Patriots, APR and CSK in the men’s category.

The women category will be played by APR,Ubumwe, The Hoops and UR Huye respectively.

It will be an interesting affair in the men’s play-offs as CercleSporif de Kigali (CSK) basketball club is determined to dethrone holders Espoir as champions of the playoffs series.

The two giants met in last year’s finals, and will again come head-to-head in the best-of-three semi-finals with the Game 1 scheduled for Friday evening.

Newly-formed Patriots BC, who finished second, will be up against third-placed APR will vying for a ticket to the best-of-five finals.

Three weeks ago, the later lost 55-57 to CSK in the final of the local Genocide Memorial Tournament.

Last year, Jean Bahufite’sEspoir claimed the title after overpowering CSK in a four-game series of finals (3-1) and former Rwanda’s international of Mike Buzangu of CSK was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the competition.

June 30, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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Congolese Mudiay on his way to Denver Nuggets

Congolese Mudiay on his way to Denver Nuggets

Emmanuel Mudiay (right)

Congolese Emmanuel Mudiay has been selected seventh overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2015 NBA draft on Friday morning at Barclays Arena in Brooklyn, New York.

The 19-year-old point guard, who last played for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association, has become the second highest drafted player from the Democratic Republic of the Congo since centreBismackBiyombo was picked seventh by the Charlotte Hornets.

Reacting to his selection, Mudiay felt special. “7 is a great number,” he said. “That’s my favourite number, so I’m excited that I’m going to be a part of the organisation.”

Last year, Mudiay committed to play with legendary coach Larry Brown at Southern Methodist University. Instead he opted to play professionally in China, alleging hardship and sacrifice within his family. He has reportedly made over $1 million in China.

Mudiay is a big point guard, 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, with great athleticism, and is often compared to Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.

He averaged 18.0 PPG in 12 games for Guangdong Southern Tigers in China.

Talking about his draft process, which generated uncertainty about his potential, Mudiay insisted that he kept his faith strong.

“They couldn’t see me play as much. They wished they could have watched me, but I feel they have seen enough though.”

“I just want to win as many championships as I can win. The league is about winning. When you win, everything else takes care of itself. What I can bring is just my competitive spirit and try to bring it both sides of the floor, defence and offence.”

Centre JahlilOkafor, who is of Nigerian heritage has been selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with No 3 pick.

Okafor is now set to team up with Cameroonian Joel Embiid.

He said he wasn’t shocked to be selected by Philadelphia, a team that drafted a centre – Noel Nerlens and Embiid – in the last three years.

“I knew I was going to be going to the NBA tonight. I was going to be a top five pick, no matter what happened.

“Joel Embiid texted me last night [before the draft] and said See you in Philly. He kind of jinxed me.

“It’s a great feeling. I know some of those guys already, so I’m excited.”

Cameroonian-American JP Tokoto was selected 58th by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Meanwhile, Minnesota selected Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick, the Los Angeles Lakers selected the second overall D’Angelo Russell of Ohio State, Okafor heads to Philadelphia and the New York Knicks chose Latvian forward KristapsPorzingis.

And, 19-year-old Singh Bhamara became first Indian-born player to be drafted. The 7-feet-1 centre was selected in the second round by the Dallas Mavericks.

June 30, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players Tags:
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Blazers send Batum to Hornets for Vonleh, Henderson

Nicolas Batum

Nicolas Batum

 French forward Nicolas Batum was traded from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday for NBA veteran guard Gerald Henderson and forward Noah Vonleh.

The deal was announced on the eve of the NBA Draft, where both clubs will try and land the best available young talent entering the league from the international and college ranks.

Batum started 428 of 481 appearances for the Trail Blazers, averaging 11.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 30.8 minutes a night. His 751 career 3-pointers rank third on Portland’s all-time list.

“NicBatum was a key contributor to all of our recent success,” said Neil Olshey, the Blazers’ president of basketball operations. “He will truly be missed as a person and a player. We wish Nic all the best for the future.”

Vonleh, 19, was taken with the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft by Charlotte. He averaged 3.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 25 games for the Hornets last season.

Henderson has career averages of 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists over six seasons with Charlotte.

AFP

June 26, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

APR BBC to miss trio ahead of Playoffs

APR BBC to miss trio ahead of Playoffs

FORMER LEAGUEchampions APR basketball club is set to miss three key players in the play-offs after they sustained injuries in the just concluded Genocide Memorial tournament (GMT) a fortnight ago.

APR BBC will face in-form Patriots BBC next month in the Play-offs competition without skipper and forward Parfait Ishimwe, point guard Pascal Niyonkuru and forward Ally Ruzigande all suffered ankle injuries, according to head coach Cliff Owuor.

This season alone, APR BBC has lost twice to newcomers Patriotsin the national league and if APR wins their last game against struggling 30-Plus on June 28, they will be assured of acing CyrilleKalima’s side for the third time this year.

APR and Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) both have 29 points from 17 games but the military side ranks third courtesy of a better point average (points scored over points conceded)

Espoir and Ubumwe basketball club are the defending league champions in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.

June 25, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
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Former NBA All-Star Kirilenko retires

Russian basketball player and former NBA All-Star Andrei Kirilenko announced on Tuesday that he was retiring from the sport. 

Russian basketball player and former NBA All-Star Andrei Kirilenko announced on Tuesday that he was retiring from the sport. 

“I am finishing up my career on court,” said the 34-year-old CSKA Moscow forward in an interview with the Russian daily Sport-Express.

He did not rule out, however, returning to the sport in the future.

“I have not said that this is my final decision. However, at the moment – yes, I have retired. I have had enough. I have had a successful career as a basketball player and the time has come to do something different,” he said.

Kirilenko started his career with Spartak St Petersburg, before moving to Russian giants CSKA Moscow. He then moved to the United States to join the Utah Jazz and was selected for the NBA All-Star game in 2004.

In recent years, Kirilenko has appeared for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA, before returning to Russia in February to link up once again with CSKA until the end of the 2014/15 season.

Kirilenko helped the Russian national team win the 2007 European Championships and a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

The Russian said he could be tempted by a leading role in the country’s basketball federation.

“Is it really possible that I could take over as the head of the Russian Basketball Federation? I can’t say for certain,” he said.

“There is a difficult situation in Russian basketball at the moment as there is a lot of negativity surrounding it. I would like to try and change something.”

June 25, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players Tags:,
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Reigning champions Espoir sink CSK

Olivier Shyaka scored a team high 30 Points to lead Espoir to a massive 102-88 win over CSK

Olivier Shyaka scored a team high 30 Points to lead Espoir to a massive 102-88 win over CSK

Reigning Basketball league champions Espoir thrashed rivals Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) 102-88 as they surge to retain the national basketball league on Sunday.

The match which was staged at University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology courts saw Olivier Shyaka scoring a team high 30 points.

To Espoir, it was a well-deserved revenge after they lost to CSK 55-57 in the final of the local Genocide memorial tournament two weeks ago.

Shooting guard Lionnel Hakizimana added 17 points while team captain Aristide Muagabe contributed 15 points for Jean Bahufite’s team.

CSK’s Congolese forward Mike Buzangu scored a game high 35 points but his effort wasn’t enough to spare his team defeat.

CSK won the first quarter 26-25 but failed to keep the momentum and went on to lose the second and third 26-21 and 27-12, respectively, before former Rwanda international Buzangu led his side to an almost meaningless 29-24 final quarter win.

Elsewhere, Rusizi beat University of Rwanda’s College of Education (UR- CoE) 62-51, while Patriots snatched an away 65-59 win over University of Rwanda- College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS) on Saturday.

Matches played last weekend:

Thursday, 18th June 2015

1 PATRIOTS BC vs 30 Plus BBC 91 47

Saturday, 20th June 2015

2 UR-Huye BBC vs PATRIOTS BC 59 65

Sunday, 21st May 2015

3 RUSIZI BBC vs UR-CE BBC 62 51

4 ESPOIR BBC vs CSK BBC 102 88

5 IPRC-Kigali BBC vs IPRC-South BBC 61 73

National Basketball League Standings

1 ESPOIR BBC 17 16/1 0 33 1258 912 1,38

2 Patriots BC 18 14/4 0 32 1287 935 1,38

3 APR BBC 17 12/5 0 29 1108 892 1,24

4 CSK BBC 17 12/5 0 29 1216 1041 1,17

5 IPRC-South BBC 18 10/8 0 28 1160 1070 1,08

6 IPRC-Kigali BBC 16 9/7 0 25 1042 892 1,17

7 RUSIZI BC 18 6/12 0 24 951 1268 0,75

8 UR-Huye BBC 18 4/14 0 22 944 1112 0,85

9 30 Plus BBC 17 2/15 0 19 798 1165 0,68

10 UR-CE BBC 18 1/16 1 18 675 1204 0,56

June 23, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

Ezeli, latest African-born to win a NBA title

Festus Ezeli

Festus Ezeli

Nigerian Festus Ezeli has endured the entire 2013-14 season on the sidelines due to a knee injury that seemed to ruin his NBA career, but what happened next was a reward for his resilience to adversity.

Some critics often compared Ezeli’s health to former Portland Trail Blazers’ number 1 pick Greg Oden, who missed his first season due to a knee injury, and continues to battle health issues.

Although Ezeli has played only 46 regular-season games in 2014-15 – he spent some time with the D-League team Santa Cruz Warriors – he returned to action as a backup centre for Andrew Bogut, stepping up when in mattered most to earn his first NBA ring as the Golden State Warriors claimed their second championship title since 1975.

In Game 6 of the best-of-season Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ezeli came off the bench powered in 10 points, had four rebounds and came up with a tremendous putback dunk in almost 11 minutes to help the Golden State Warriors extend their lead to 13 points in the third quarter and closed out the series with a 105-97 win.

What happened next was celebration for the first Nigerian-born to win a NBA title since Hakeem Olajuwon sparked the Houston Rockets to a back-to-back championship in 1995.

While Olajuwon was a prolific scorer and defender, Ezeli is primarily a backup defense force.

Gearing up to the Finals, the 25-year-old revealed how the Warriors became such a terrific team. At the time he said: “We have worked too hard this year. Whatever you have you have got to bring it on the floor.”

An excellent ending of the season for Ezeli, a Vanderbilt University graduate, who parents wanted him to become a doctor. Instead Ezeli embraced basketball and was selected 30th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2012 along with Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes who became pivotal for the Warriors success.

In his second playoffs appearance the 2.11m centre averaged 3.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per games.

As well as being the latest Nigerian-born to win the Larry O’Brien trophy, Ezeli is also the last African-born to win a NBA trophy since Congolese, Kinshasa-native, Didier Ilunga-Mbenga who helped the Los Angeles Lakers win back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.

Supersport

June 23, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment