DeMar DeRozan, Joel Embiid lined up for NBA Africa game in South Africa
ASSOCIATED PRESS — The NBA will hold its Africa exhibition game in the South African capital of Pretoria on Aug. 4, the league said Thursday, with All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Joel Embiid lined up to play.
The announcement for this year’s exhibition was made by NBA vice president and managing director for Africa Amadou Gallo Fall in Johannesburg.
The NBA has held two Africa games previously, in 2015 and last year. They were both in Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city and commercial hub, and pitted a team of American and international NBA stars against a team of NBA players from Africa, or with African heritage.
This time, Team World and Team Africa will play at the 8,500-seat Sun Arena in Time Square as the NBA pushes out to a new city, albeit only about 40 miles up the highway from Johannesburg.
The NBA confirmed DeRozan, who plays for the Toronto Raptors, will take part along with Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes and San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay on the Team World roster. Embiid, who plays for the Philadelphia 76ers, will play for Team Africa along with Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu and Orlando Magic center Bismack Biyombo.
Embiid, who is from Cameroon, was a product of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders development camp in South Africa in 2011.
The NBA has sought to capture a new market in Africa over recent years and Commissioner Adam Silver made the trip to Johannesburg for the inaugural Africa game in 2015. Then, Silver said the NBA was looking to hold a pre-season and ultimately a regular-season game in Africa.
The NBA also opened an academy in Senegal last year, the first in Africa.
Basketball is generally more popular in West Africa than South Africa, but South Africa’s sports facilities - the best on the continent - have drawn the NBA to the country.
The two previous Africa games in South Africa drew crowds of about 5,000 in 2015 and just over 7,000 last year.