NBA to make whistle stop at basketball games
The Basketball National League (BNL) has joined forces with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in hosting prominent NBA dignitaries and players on Friday as part of the South African legacy programme.
The whistle stop will take place at the Wembley Indoor Arena, in Turffontein, with the visit forming part of the BNL league games, said the Department of Sport and Recreation.
According to the department, the continuing support in growing basketball, in South Africa, mirrors the commitment undertaken by Minister Fikile Mbalula, who in 2013 gave an undertaking to the people of South Africa that it was the intention of the department to revive basketball in the country as a sport of choice among young people.
“With BNL now running for its third season, this commitment by the Minister has become a visible and tangible product in growing the basketball sport,” said the department.
Two key games have been lined up for Friday evening with North West Eagles up against Soweto Panthers at 4:30pm, followed by Tshwane Suns which will go up against Egoli Magic at 7:30pm.
“It is befitting that these clubs should be playing on this honourary evening as Tshwane Suns are the reigning BNL Champions, while Egoli Magic is noticeable a team in top form this season.”
The games will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
The whistle stop by NBA players on Friday at Wembley Arena enables prominent NBA players, as well as those forming part of the Africa Team to meet players from the BNL teams.
In addition, these NBA players will give basketball fans the opportunity to engage with some of the world’s top players at Wembley.
“The NBA’s hosting of its first game on the continent in South Africa puts South Africa on the global map as a destination of choice for major sports events and sports tourism,” said Minister Mbalula.
Forming part of the NBA’s whistle stop schedule will be an elite coaching clinic, which will take place on Thursday for 45 under 18 players, as well as local BNL Coaches and national team coaches at Wembley.
The partnership, which Sport and Recreation has forged with the NBA, is already starting to show results. “The NBA has also joined forces with Basketball SA in rolling out mini basketball in 40 primary schools as a pilot programme,” Minister Mbalula said.
Echoing Minister Mbalula’s sentiments, Chairman of BNL, Albert Mokoena, applauded the Department of Sport and Recreation as well as Basketball South Africa as integral partners in driving the growth of Basketball with both the local and international basketball communities.
The NBA’s first match on African soil signals more good things to come in promoting and advancing Basketball in South Africa.
“More important we are hopeful that this occasion will also help in the transfer of skills and expertise to our own basketball administrators as well as to the benefit of our basketball players,” said Minister Mbalula. - SAnews.gov.za