Obama joins NBA Africa as strategic partner
Former United States President Barack Obama is joining NBA Africa as a strategic partner, the league announced Tuesday.
As part of the agreement, Obama will own a minority equity stake in the organization. His inclusion will assist the league in carrying out its social responsibility efforts in Africa through "programs and partnerships that support gender equality and economic inclusion," the league said in a statement.
"In Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent," Obama said in a video statement. "As president and through my foundation, I've made it a priority to engage Africa's young people. That's because Africa has the highest percentage of youth population in the world. And this new generation is poised to create positive transformative change.
"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-born players who want to give back to their own countries and communities."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver praised the collaboration, lauding the potential benefits for the continent with the addition of Obama as a partner.
"We are honored that President Obama has become a strategic partner in NBA Africa and will support our wide-ranging efforts to grow the game of basketball on the continent," Silver said. "In addition to his well-documented love for basketball, President Obama has a firm belief in Africa's potential and the enormous growth opportunities that exist through sports. NBA Africa will benefit tremendously from his engagement."
The NBA officially formed NBA Africa in May as a new entity to manage its ventures on the continent, including the Basketball Africa League. The BAL completed its inaugural season in May, with Egyptian side Zamalek defeating US Monastir of Tunisia in the final.