The first and only American of African descent to hold the office of president of the United States, Obama told NBA.com: ‘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.’
The former president said the NBA had always been a great ambassador for the United States, creating deeper connections around the world, and he believes basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality and empowerment across Africa.
‘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.’
NBA Africa is said to be focused on expanding the NBA’s presence in priority African markets, deepening the league’s engagement with players and fans across the continent, and continuing to grow Africa’s basketball ecosystem through programmes such as the Jr. NBA, Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa and NBA Academy Africa.
According to NBA Commissioner Adam Smith, the association is ‘honored’ that Obama has become a strategic partner in NBA Africa.
He added that with his well-documented love for basketball, the former American president had a firm belief in Africa’s potential and the enormous growth opportunities that existed through sports, and NBA Africa would benefit tremendously from his engagement.