Obama joins NBA Africa as strategic adviser
Former President Obama has joined NBA Africa as a strategic adviser, the league announced Tuesday.
Driving the news: Obama will "help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts across the continent," including initiatives that "support greater gender equality and economic inclusion."
The big picture: The league opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2010. Since then, NBA Africa has focused on boosting access to basketball and expanding its presence in "priority African markets."
- Its Basketball Africa League kicked off its inaugural season in May with 12 of the top club teams from 12 African countries.
- NBA Africa has also invested in youth programs and social responsibility initiatives that seek to raise awareness of gender-based violence and improve quality of life for African families, according to the league.
What they're saying: "We have ambitious growth plans for NBA Africa and having President Obama join our efforts is a recognition that through sport, Africa can take its rightful place on the world stage," NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams said in a statement.
- "In addition to his well-documented love for basketball, President Obama has a firm belief in Africa’s potential and the enormous growth opportunities that exist through sports," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver added.
"One of the things I've always loved most about basketball is the fact that it brings people together and empowers young people everywhere," Obama said in a video message posted on the NBA's Twitter.
- "When a game gets going, it doesn't matter what you look like, where you come from or what language you speak, as long as you can play," he added.
- "In Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality and empowerment across the continent."