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Obama in 2014. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

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."

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."

Go deeper

Biden huddles with Congolese president to discuss Africa vaccine deal

President Biden and Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi laugh during a group photo at the G20 of World Leaders Summit on Oct. 30. Photo: Erin Schaff/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden and Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, met Saturday to discuss a deal that would sell up to 110 million COVID vaccine doses to African countries.

Driving the news: The agreement between Moderna and the African Union is intended to help countries that are behind on vaccination targets set by the World Health Organization due to access and availability of vaccines.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.