First NBA game in Africa a big success
JOHANNESBURG (NBA) - History was made over the weekend when an NBA game was played for the first time in Africa at the Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg.
Players born in Africa and second-generation African players made up Team Africa.
A continent that has given the best league in the world some wonderful players over the years, two of the most famous ended up with starring roles when Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo, long since retired from the league, surprised everyone by running onto the court to play for Team Africa.
Olajuwon, a Nigerian who played for the USA's gold-medal winning Olympic team at the 1996 Atlanta Games, is now 52 years of age but he still has some moves and even scored shortly after entering the game.
Mutombo, 49, who hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo, didn't score but had a steal to go with his three rebounds.
Team Africa led for much of the contest but Team World ended up winning, 101-97.
After the game, Luol Deng of Team Africa and Chris Paul of Team World were named joint-MVPs.
Deng had 20 points in defeat and Paul 12 in victory.
Team Africa’s Luol Deng (20 points) & team World’s Chris Paul (12 points) were named Most Valuable Players of the #NBAAfricaGame— SuperSport Blitz (@SuperSportBlitz) August 1, 2015
The MVP Trophy was named after the late Manute Bol, the 2.13m shot-blocker from Sudan who played in the NBA from 1985 to 1995.
The game took place after the conclusion of the 13th edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa at the American International School of Johannesburg.
Among those to play for Team Africa was Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 22 points.
Antetokounmpo, whose parents hail from Nigeria, will play for Greece at this year's EuroBasket.
Another player who will play at the EuroBasket is France captain Boris Diaw and he, too, wore the Team Africa jersey.
Diaw's father, Issa, came from Senegal and was a star in athletics.
Proud to have been part of Team Africa in the first ever NBA game in Africa. #NBAAfricaGame #ALLFORTHEGAME pic.twitter.com/m6sNUFjfPE— Boris Diaw (@theborisdiaw) August 2, 2015
Distinguished guests on hand to witness this historic game included NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, FIBA Africa President Niang Hamane, FIBA Africa Executive Director Alphonse Bile and Patrick Hunt, the President of the World Association of Basketball Coaches (WABC).