Former U.S. president Barack Obama has purchased a minority share of NBA Africa, the National Basketball Association announced Tuesday.
NBA Africa was established this year to oversee the league’s business activities on the continent.
The NBA said in a statement that Obama is a strategic partner and would use any profits from the new entity to “fund Obama Foundation youth and leadership programs across Africa.”
NBA Africa was created in May as a partnership between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation. The Basketball Africa League, the continent’s first professional basketball league featuring top teams from 12 countries, is part of the entity.
The league began play for the first time in May after being delayed for a year by the coronavirus pandemic.
The NBA has had a presence in Africa for decades. It opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg in 2010 and has since promoted basketball through the NBA Africa Games, the launch of the BAL, social responsibility initiatives, corporate partnerships and player development.
"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,” Obama said in the NBA’s press release.
"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."
Voice of America radio simulcast the BAL’s 26 games in English and French and provided play-by-play coverage in Bambara, Kinyarwanda, Wolof, and Portuguese for the games involving teams from Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Angola, and Mozambique.
The broadcasts were aired on more than 30 VOA-owned and operated FM radio stations in 16 African countries and were available to VOA’s network of commercial and public radio stations across the continent.
Information from Reuters and AP was used in this report.