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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The NBA's Basketball Africa League will make its long-awaited debut with a 12-team tournament beginning May 16 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Why it matters: The NBA's attempt at operating a league outside of North America is part of a long-term plan to make the league synonymous with competitive basketball around the world.

The teams:

  1. Algeria
  2. Angola
  3. Cameroon
  4. Egypt
  5. Madagascar
  6. Mali
  7. Morocco
  8. Mozambique
  9. Nigeria
  10. Rwanda
  11. Senegal
  12. Tunisia

The big picture: The BAL will strengthen the NBA's talent pipeline in Africa, which has already produced over 80 current and former players, including 2021 MVP candidate Joel Embiid (Cameroon).

  • It will also help foster a more robust basketball landscape in Africa itself, with players not just dreaming of going abroad, but also of making a name for themselves in Africa.
  • The NBA has hosted Basketball Without Borders camps throughout Africa since 2003, opened an official league office in South Africa in 2010 and built a training academy in Senegal in 2017.

The bottom line: The NBA has spent the last 25 years importing a surge of international talent — now it hopes to benefit by exporting the brand those global stars have helped build.

Go deeper

Mar 29, 2021 - Health

J&J to supply 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to African Union

Photo: Misha Jordaan/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson has inked a deal with the African Union (AU) to supply up to 400 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine starting in the third quarter of the year, the drugmaker announced Monday.

Why it matters: Disparities in vaccine access remain a challenge for Africans, especially as the continent struggles to contain the coronavirus variant that originated in South Africa.

Updated 53 mins ago - Science

Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.

58 mins ago - World

Blinken speaks with Sudan prime minister after his release

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke on the phone on Tuesday evening with Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after the military released him from custody.

Why it matters: Hamdok’s release was a result of pressure on Sudan’s military leader General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan from the U.S. and other countries but also from the different political parties in Sudan and massive protests in the streets.