The NBA is in the process of extending its global presence into Africa, and commissioner Adam Silver said to “stay tuned” about the league playing a regular season game in the country.
According to the Associated Press via ESPN:
“Silver didn’t give an exact time frame but said Thursday in South Africa that a preseason and, ultimately, a league game was the aim, with the NBA on a ‘fast track’ to build its brand in soccer-crazy Africa.”
While the plan sounds interesting and seems likely to happen, that doesn’t make it a perfect idea.
The league’s 82-game schedule is already strenuous enough, and whichever teams participate in the game must receive extra travel and recovery days after flying halfway around the world. Consequently, they’ll play a couple more back-to-backs during the rest of the year.
Unless the special outing takes place as a season-opening showcase, sending a couple franchises to Africa would benefit the league’s brand more than the teams, so the NBA must consider its priorities.
Regardless, Silver made the comments while promoting the 2015 NBA Africa Game, which will be played at Ellis Park Arena on Aug. 1. ESPN will broadcast the exhibition matchup at 9 a.m. ET.
Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa, and Luol Deng will serve as captain. Other players include Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Boris Diaw, Gorgui Dieng, Bismack Biyombo, Al-Farouq Aminu, Festus Ezeli and Luc Mbah a Moute.
Chris Paul, Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol will lead Team World, while Kenneth Faried, Bradley Beal, Nikola Vucevic, Marcus Smart, Jeff Green and Evan Turner complete the roster.
Photo: USA Today Sports