Masai Ujiri Brings NBA Trophy To Nigeria

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

After leading the Toronto Raptors to the 2019 NBA Championship in June, Masai Ujiri brought the trophy back to Nigeria to celebrate with his family. Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors President, became the first African in a president or general manager role to lead a team in one of the four major American professional sports leagues to a championship. Ujiri was always viewed as one of the best President/GMs in the NBA and this championship validated that. HBO Real Sports did a great feature on Ujiri’s trip back to Africa this summer and also discussed his career journey. For the past sixteen years, Ujiri hosted a basketball camp in Africa called Giants of Africa. The camp teaches the campers fundamental basketball skills on the court but also life skills that will help excel off the court. Check out the full segment.

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Basketball Africa League Announced for 2020

Image via @NBA Twitter

During the 6th annual NBA Africa All Star Luncheon in Charlotte, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced the plan to launch the Basketball Africa League (BAL) in 2020. The Basketball Africa League will consist of 12 club teams across the continent of Africa set to begin play in January 2020. The NBA and FIBA will conduct qualifying tournaments later this year to make selections for the 12 teams. The BAL will consist of teams representing the following countries: Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia (no more than two teams from the same country will be able to qualify).

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Falcons Win 9th Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Title

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The Lady Falcons defeated South Africa in the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) that took place in Ghana. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) organized the event. After both teams went scoreless in regulation, Nigeria defeated South Africa in penalty kicks (4-3). Check out the highlights below:

Nigeria had several players make the all tournament team including Tochukwu Oluehi (Goalkeeper) and Onome Ebi (Defender). This win marks the Falcons 9th win at the AWCON (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2016, & now 2018).

Next up for the Nigeria is to find out their bid for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. The drawing will take place on December 8th in Paris and we will provide an update on the Falcons grouping for the upcoming tournament.

NBA PARTNERS WITH AFD TO HELP YOUTH IN AFRICA

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On July 4, 2018, the NBA & the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) announced their plan to encourage social inclusion by developing basketball infrastructure and conducting youth basketball programs, events, and initiatives in Nigeria, Morocco, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, and other African countries. This announcement took place in Lagos, Nigeria with the president of France, Emmanuel Macron present amongst NBA & AFD high level officials, and other NBA ambassadors. AFD is France inclusive bank committed to financing and technical help for projects that improves the lives of people in emerging & developing economies.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted, “Sports can educate and empower people. I am a firm believer in the impact sport can have on each life and the future of a country. It’s time to invest in sports in Nigeria!”

Sports can change the world and it’s great to see a commitment to improving the lives of Africans throughout the continent through the game of basketball. Excited to the see the impact that this partnership has on the continent and what future players come from this as well.