The future of the NBA is African
Updated: May 3, 2019
The 2018-19 NBA season has shown the world one unquestionable truth. The future of the league is African in nature. A few of the biggest names in the game can all trace their heritage directly to the continent. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Victor Oladipo, Clint Capela, Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam to name a few. Antetokounmpo and Embiid are likely to be the biggest stars in the NBA in the next five years, with Giannis already in the MVP consideration and many tipping him to take the award. This is great for African basketball. Giannis is of Nigerian extraction via Greece, Embiid from Cameroon. These players are a huge boost for ball-players from the continent as it shows the level of talent that continues to join the elite ranks.
"Antetokounmpo and Embiid are likely to be the biggest stars in the NBA in the next five years, with Giannis already in the MVP consideration and many tipping him to take the award."
African basketball fans have long had to wonder who would be the next players to take up the mantel left behind by
Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo and Manute Bol. We’ve seen African players make massive impacts on winning teams over the past few decades, even getting their hands on the Larry O’Brien trophy, the likes of Festus Ezeli, Boris Diaw, DJ Mbenga, but they’ve always been role players and never the stars of the show. To see a diverse range of kids with smiling faces from across the globe wearing their Embiid jerseys or showing Giannis their homemade art projects focused on his greatness, means a heck of a lot.
The NBA Academy in Senegal could turn out to be one of the most productive places for African youth basketball the African continent has even seen, but it requires massive amounts of time and patience as the investment slowly bears fruit. Having an office in Johannesburg, South Africa, shows that the NBA see where they need to plant seeds and they’ve done that spectacularly with the launching of nearly 20 Jr. NBA programs from Cape to Cairo, Accra to Dar es Salaam. The three sold-out NBA Africa Games were evidence that the hunger for NBA basketball is alive and well and needs to be fed more often.