What you need to know about the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL)


The inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL)  season tipped off today at 4:00 p.m. CAT / 10 a.m. ET when Rwanda’s Patriots Basketball Club (BBC) took on Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda.

Below are facts and figures about the BAL:

•  1 – History will be made when the first BAL season tips off today and culminates with the crowning of the first BAL champion on Sunday, May 30. The BAL, a partnership between the NBA and FIBA, marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.

•  1 – Ben Uzoh, who joined Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers, is poised to become the first former NBA player to play in the BAL, having played for the New Jersey Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors from 2010-12. He was also a member of the Nigeria Senior Men’s National Team at the 2016 Olympics, FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and FIBA AfroBasket in 2013 and 2015.

•  3 – As Official Energy Partner of the BAL, New Fortress Energy Inc. (NFE) and the BAL will contribute three trees for every three-pointer made during the BAL season as part of “Threes for Trees,” a collaboration with international NGO Trees for the Future.

•  8 – A roster of eight broadcast partners will air BAL games around the world: Canal+, ESPN, beIN SPORTS, NBA TV, Tencent Video, TSN, American Forces Network (AFN) and Voice of America (VOA). All BAL games will also livestream on the NBA App, the official NBA website NBA.com and the official BAL website theBAL.com.

•  9 – The BAL is working with a roster of nine world-class marketing partners: Agence France Development (AFD), Flutterwave, Hennessy, Jordan Brand, New Fortress Energy (NFE), NIKE, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Social Nation Africa (SNA) and Wilson.

•  9 – Nine players bring NBA G League experience to the BAL’s first season: Brandon Jay Costner and Prince Ibeh (Rwanda’s Patriots BBC); Myck Kabongo and Demarcus Holland (Mozambique’s Ferroviàrio de Maputo), Ibrahima Thomas (Mali’s AS Police); Uzoh, Taren Sullivan and Robert Christopher Daniels (Rivers Hoopers); and Ater Majok (Tunisia’s US Monastir).

•  12 – The inaugural BAL season will feature 12 club teams from 12 African countries: Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia.

•  20 – A total of 20 former Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa campers are on BAL team rosters, including one NBA Academy Africa prospect (Mohab Yasser Abdelaty Abdallatif of Egypt’s Zamalek).​

•  21 – There are 21 BAL players with U.S. NCAA Division I experience, with 11 teams featuring at least one former Division I player.

•  22 – The inaugural BAL season will be officiated by 22 of FIBA Africa’s top referees, a group of 19 men and three women from 16 countries selected after live and video observation by the NBA’s Referee Operations Department, in partnership with FIBA and FIBA Africa.

•  The season will feature a total of 26 games. The 12 teams are divided into three groups of four teams. The top eight teams from the group phase will qualify for the playoffs, which will be single elimination in all three rounds.

•  154 – BAL roster feature 154 players from 24 countries across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.

•  215 – The inaugural BAL season will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in 15 languages.

•  7,621 – The two BAL courts have travelled 7,621 miles from Dollar Bay, Michigan, to Kigali, Rwanda.

•  23,724 – The total number of miles travelled by 11 teams to get to Kigali.

•  36,975 – Each court consists of 255 panels and weighs approximately 16.7 tonnes (36,975 lbs.).

You may also like....

About Chocha Writer 305 Articles
Chocha Writer is our roving and much read resident writer. He will write on several topics. Contact him on chochakenya@gmail.com or 0772 808 931