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Passing through Paris before joining the France-Africa summit in Montpellier, Amadou Gallo Fall, president of the Basketball Africa League, gave an interview to France 24. The opportunity to take stock of the first edition which took place in last May in Kigali, Rwanda, and to outline the outlook for the development strategy of the NBA in the region.
“This is a new step in the development of basketball on a global scale.” Former director of recruiting for the Dallas Mavericks team and then vice-president in charge of international affairs for the NBA, Amadou Gallo Fall is now the president of the Basketball Africa League.
The competition, which brings together twelve clubs from the continent, took place at the end of May in Kigali, Rwanda, and was born out of a joint initiative of the international federation (FIBA) and the North American league (NBA) to promote the African basketball. A league which ended on May 30 with the victory of the Egyptians of Zamalek against the Tunisians of Monastir.
On France 24, Amadou Gallo Fall outlines the prospects for African basketball, while the establishment of the competition is a new step after the organization of camps for young people (2003), the opening of an NBA office in Johannesburg (2010) or the organization of NBA Africa Games exhibition matches.
France 24: What conclusions do you draw from this first edition?
Amadou Gallo Fall: All that African basketball has as potential was celebrated with the launch, on May 16, of the Basketball African League (BAL). It was the culmination of work undertaken for several decades by the NBA and FIBA on the African continent. It was beautiful to see Zamalek’s team win the trophy.
Initially the regular season was to take place in several cities in Africa before ending with a “Final Four” in Rwanda. Finally, the Covid-19 pandemic forced you to adapt the format and focus the entire competition on one month, in Kigali. Satisfied with the final format?
The inaugural season was to be launched on March 13, 2020, in Dakar. We were the first major competition to take a break due to the Covid. In December 2020, we wanted to relaunch it but the conditions were still not met.
All the teams remained convinced and committed. We were patient and African basketball fans appreciated the final format.
Is Africa an inexhaustible reservoir of talent for basketball?
It’s a reservoir of talent, but above all FIBA and NBA see the continent as a special place where something special like the African Basketball League can be created. The League for Africa aims to promote its talents, which otherwise are forced to go on an adventure abroad. We create the conditions so that these young people can be professionals in their country.
We also want to create an entire industry around these talents that will generate employment in other professions related to sport. We want to create development because the sports and entertainment industries contribute billions of dollars to savings in the United States or here in France thanks to the infrastructure created. This is what we want to see in Africa.
Watch the full interview in the video above.