Several stars have made their way to Johannesburg, South Africa, for the 2017 NBA Africa Game on Saturday, August 5.
It will be the second such game for the league in Africa and will feature rosters representing both Africa and the rest of the world.
Date: Saturday, August 5
Time: 9 a.m. ET (U.S.), 5 p.m. CAT (Africa)
Venue: Ticketpro Dome
Coverage: ESPN 2 (U.S.), Kwese Sports (Africa)
Live Stream: WatchESPN (U.S.), Kwese Facebook Page (Africa)
Team Africa (via NBA.com)
- Luol Deng (Los Angeles Lakers; South Sudan)*
- Thabo Sefolosha (Utah Jazz; Switzerland; parent from South Africa)*
- Bismack Biyombo (Orlando Magic; Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- Clint Capela (Houston Rockets; Switzerland; parents from Angola and Congo)
- Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal; BWB Africa 2009)
- Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011)**
- Serge Ibaka (Toronto Raptors; Congo)
- Luc Mbah a Moute (Houston Rockets; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2003)
- Salah Mejri (Dallas Mavericks; Tunisia)
- Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets; Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers; U.S.; parent from Nigeria)
- Dennis Schroder (Hawks; Germany; parent from The Gambia)
* Team captains
** Will not play
Team World (via NBA.com)
- Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks; Germany)*
- Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets; U.S.)*
- Leandro Barbosa (most recently with the Phoenix Suns; Brazil)
- Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics; U.S.)
- Wilson Chandler (Nuggets; U.S.)
- DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans; U.S.)
- Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons; U.S.)
- Courtney Lee (New York Knicks; U.S.)
- Kyle Lowry (Raptors; U.S.)
- CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers; U.S.)
- Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks; Latvia)
* Team captains
Team Africa is loaded with big men. And in an exhibition game like this, that could lead to loads of fun.
Sure, Emmanuel Mudiay, Victor Oladipo and Dennis Schroder could handle all the ball-handling duties, but the people might be treated to some point center action from Clint Capela, Bismack Biyombo or one of Team Africa’s other bigs.
Like All-Star games, fun and games like that could come to a halt as the final buzzer draws near. Then, the competitive instincts may kick in. And attitudes like Mudiay‘s may surface.
“Returning to Africa to play in the second NBA game on the continent is a dream come true,” Mudiay said, per NBA.com. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to participate and look forward to leading Team Africa to a win on August 5.”
As for Team World, it has a pair of unicorns that’s already made some news down in Africa. And it’s news that should excite New York Knicks fans.
Kristaps Porzingis, New York’s 7’3″ rising star, is taking advantage of his time around surefire Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki. He posted a picture of a workout with the big German on Instagram:
And the NBA shared video of the two going through shooting drills together:
This is an event celebrating basketball outside America’s borders. And players like Porzingis and Nowitzki, from Latvia and Germany, respectively, are largely responsible for the next phase of the game’s evolution.
Since Nowitzki entered the NBA in 1998, teams throughout the league have tried to find other bigs who can stretch the floor the way he does with his shooting. Over time, the desire to find the next Dirk has helped usher in the pace-and-space era.
Now, Porzingis has the potential to take it a step further. If he hits his ceiling, he could be a taller, bouncier version of Nowitzki.
Without the NBA’s ever-expanding influence around the globe, there’s a chance this internationally-fueled trend wouldn’t have made it to America.
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