Former President Barack Obama has joined NBA Africa as a strategic partner and minority owner, the NBA announced Tuesday. NBA Africa conducts the league’s business on that continent, including most notably the new Basketball Africa League (BAL). Obama plans to help the league’s social-responsibility efforts, including programs and partnerships across the continent that support greater gender equality and economic inclusion. He will also have a minority equity stake in NBA Africa, which he intends to use to fund Obama Foundation youth and leadership programs across Africa.
“The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States — using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent,” Obama said in a statement. “By investing in communities, promoting gender equality and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people.
“I’ve been impressed by the league’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership shown by so many African players who want to give back to their own countries and communities. That’s why I’m proud to join the team at NBA Africa and look forward to a partnership that benefits the youth of so many countries.”
Obama, whose father is from Kenya, is a huge NBA fan who has partnered with several players on numerous projects, and he took part in festivities during 2020 NBA All-Star weekend in his hometown of Chicago.