NBA stars excited for some hang time in South Africa
YOU KNOW a match is a big deal when the players use words such as ‘thrilled’, ‘can’t wait’, ‘dream come true’, and ‘excited’, as they look ahead to it.
Superstars in their own right and playing in one of the biggest sporting leagues in the world, the NBA stars are nevertheless still like kids in a candy store when it comes to the NBA Africa Game.
Announced yesterday as jointcaptains of the Africa Team that will take on the World Team for only the second time on African soil, both Thabo Sefolosha and Luol Deng could not hide their elation.
“Having South African roots, it’s a dream come true to return to South Africa. There are so many talented African players, and it will be an honour to lead them,” said Swiss native Sefolosha whose father is South African.
“I’m thrilled to be coming back to Johannesburg to lead Team Africa alongside Thabo. The first NBA Africa Game in 2015 was a lot of fun, and it will be a privilege to play in front of our African fans again,” said Los Angeles Lakers forward Deng.
The game is scheduled for August 5 at the Ticketpro Dome and the organisers anticipate a full house with tickets selling fast on ticketpro.co.za.
And with good reason too, for what basketball enthusiast would want to miss out on the opportunity of seeing a myriad of the game’s superstars live in his own backyard.
Lining up alongside Sefolosha and Deng for the Africans will be Orlando Magic’s Bismack Biyombo.
“It was an honour and privilege to play in the first NBA game in Africa in 2015. I’m looking forward to another great game in August,” he said.
Their opponents in the World Team are similarly excited.
“I heard many great things from players around the league who travelled to South Africa in 2015 for the first NBA Africa Game and Basketball without Borders. I can’t wait to suit up for Team World in Johannesburg this summer,” said Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum.
For Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, the previous experience of the Africa Game made the return inevitable.
“I’m really excited to represent Team World in the second NBA Africa Game this summer. I also look forward to returning to South Africa after taking part in the Basketball without Borders Africa camp eight years ago. It’s great to see how the game is growing across the continent, and I’m honoured to be a part of this historic event.”
The 2017 game, which will take place following the 15th edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa, will be played in support of UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.