Basketball Without Borders Shows Africa's Rising Importance In NBA
The emphasis NBA teams placed on scouting last month's Basketball Without Borders Africa in Dakar, Senegal "further illustrates the elevated importance of the region in today's game," according to Mike Schmitz of ESPN.com. BWB Africa has "developed into a scouting necessity, with several U.S.-based executives making the trip to Dakar to start getting a feel for the talent level and infrastructure, which have yielded 40 first- and second-generation African players currently in the NBA." A record 14 of the 30 NBA teams were "represented in some capacity" at BWB Africa. The local resources in Senegal "continue to improve with the NBA's involvement." The "majority of BWB Africa took place at Dakar Arena, an innovative 15,000-seat facility with an NBA feel that was completed less than a year ago." It "rivals many arenas in the U.S., a game-changing development for sports nationwide." Rwanda has added a "similar arena, which appears to be just the beginning." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league is "going to help with more facilities" in Africa. Schmitz noted there is also an NBA Academy in Saly, Senegal, which "features two full courts and four hoops." Between the NBA Academy Africa, SEED Academy, the Jr. NBA, BWB Africa and Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri's Giants of Africa project, the "development structure is evolving." Silver: "For us to have the impact we think we can, we really need to plant both feet firmly in Africa, and right now we're a couple of toes in, so we have work to do" (ESPN.com, 8/4).