The NBA is returning to Johannesburg, South Africa for its second “Africa Game” this summer, and Kristaps Porzingis and Courtney Lee will be playing for Team World!
This is the second time the NBA has hosted an exhibition in Africa (the first was in 2015) in an effort to give the burgeoning African fan base some in-person action and also raise money for UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa. From the NBA’s release:
“Basketball is witnessing explosive growth in Africa. Our return to Johannesburg this summer is part of the League’s continued commitment to bring the authentic NBA experience to fans around the world. I would like to thank the NBPA for their participation and for being terrific partners on this game and surrounding events,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“NBA Africa Game 2015 was a resounding success, and we are grateful for the support of the players and team personnel who participated. While we are investing more than ever in grassroots programming and in delivering locally relevant content to our fans across the continent, there is no substitute for live NBA games. I hope fans from throughout Africa will join us in Johannesburg or on Kwesé’s platforms on August 5 to see some of the NBA’s best players compete on African soil,” said NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa Amadou Gallo Fall.
From what I remember from the first game, it was actually pretty fun. Kind of like an All-Star game with less actual All-Stars and a little more defense.
Team Africa will feature team captains Luol Deng and Thabo Sefolosha, and notably includes Serge Ibaka, Clint Capela and Dennis Schroder, among others. Joel Embiid is on the African roster, but has already been ruled out (of course).
Joining KP and Lee on Team World will be captains Dirk Nowitzki (!!!) and Kemba Walker, along with former Knick Wilson Chandler, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond and Kyle Lowry, among others. If nothing else, for selfish Knick fan reasons, having Dirk there probably means that KP will get a couple-day training sesh with one of his idols.
For what it’s worth, Team World won the first game in 2015, 101-97, so there’s a chance we could see some Knicks win a game after April for the first time in a while.
The Africa Game will take place on August 5, but if my memory serves me correctly, it will air on tape delay due to the time difference. At any rate, go the Knicks (in Africa)!