The National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced Monday that Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks; Germany), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets; US), Thabo Sefolosha (Atlanta Hawks; Switzerland; South African parent) and Luol Deng (Los Angeles Lakers; South Sudan) will serve as team captains for NBA Africa Game 2017.
Tickets for the NBA’s second game in Africa taking place Saturday, August 5 at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa will be available to fans Thursday, June 22 at 10:00 CAT by visiting ticketpro.co.za.
Nowitzki, a 13-time NBA All-Star and 2011 NBA Champion, along with Walker, a 2017 NBA All-Star, will co-captain Team World. Deng, a two-time NBA All-Star and Team Africa captain at NBA Africa Game 2015, and Sefolosha, an 11-year NBA veteran whose father was born in South Africa, will lead Team Africa.
The players are all thrilled to be part of the second NBA Africa Game, with Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki ready for action come game day. “I’m really excited to represent Team World in the second NBA Africa Game this summer. I also look forward to returning to South Africa after taking part in the Basketball without Borders Africa camp eight years ago. It’s great to see how the game is growing across the continent, and I’m honored to be a part of this historic event.”
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Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker will be visiting the continent for the first time, an experience he’s excited about: “I can’t wait to make my first trip to Africa and join Dirk in leading Team World. Playing in an NBA game in Africa will be a special moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
In February, the NBA and NBPA announced that Bismack Biyombo (Orlando Magic; Democratic Republic of Congo) and Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets; DRC) will play for Team Africa, and that CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers; US) will play for Team World. Leading Team Africa is a special experience and both Luol Deng and Thabo Sefolosha are ecstatic to be doing it. Having a South African parent gives this event even more personal significance for Atlanta Hawks guard/forward Thabo Sefolosha: “Having South African roots, it’s a dream come true to return to South Africa to play in an NBA game. There are so many talented African players in the league, and it will be an honor to lead them on August 5 in Johannesburg.”
Los Angeles Lakers forward Luol Deng has done this before, having served as captain of Team Africa in the very first NBA Africa Game and he’s as excited about doing it again. “I’m thrilled to be coming back to Johannesburg to lead Team Africa alongside Thabo. The first NBA Africa Game in 2015 was a lot of fun, and it will be a privilege to play in front of our African fans once again.” Full rosters of players, coaches and legends will be announced at a later date.
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NBA Africa Game 2017, which will take place following the 15th edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa, will once again feature a Team Africa vs Team World format and will be played in support of UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa (SOSCVSA). The game will air live in sub-Saharan Africa on Kwesé’s TV, internet and mobile platforms, including Kwesé Free Sports, Kwesé Sports, select free-to-air channels, Kwesesports.com and the Kwesé app.
The sold-out NBA Africa Game 2015, the first NBA game on the continent, took place August 1, 2015 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg. There have been more than 70 current or former NBA players from Africa or with ties to the continent, including NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria) and NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (DRC), both of whom played in NBA Africa Game 2015.
For more information, fans can visit www.NBA.com/Africa, the league’s official online destination in Africa, and follow the NBA on Facebook (NBA Africa) and Twitter (@NBA_Africa). Also visit KweséESPN.com for more information on the game and follow KweséESPN on Facebook (kwesesports) and on Twitter (@kwesesports).
By NBA News