Obama Teams Up With NBA, FIBA to Launch Basketball Africa League

President Barack Obama is a basketball aficionado. From filling out his NCAA bracket to leading pick-up games at the White House, basketball has always been a part of the 44th president’s life.

While some people coach high school when they retire, Obama is thinking global. On Feb. 17, the NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the launch of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a joint effort of the NBA and International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Who is the go-to player for this project? None other than Obama.

“I’ve always loved basketball because it’s about building a team that’s equal to more than the sum of its parts,” Obama tweeted. “Glad to see this expansion into Africa because for a rising continent, this can be about a lot more than what happens on the court.”

He tweeted about BAL:

Obama will have a role with the league, but the extent of his involvement has yet to be announced.The BAL’s inaugural season will begin in 2020, and will feature squads from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.The NBA shared a video of Obama speaking to African basketball players about the importance of sports, then hitting a long-range 3 pointer.“I hope you know through sport that if you put in effort you will be rewarded, I hope you learn through sport what it means to play as a team and that even if you are the best player your job is not just to show off but your job is to make your teammates better.”For years, the NBA has fostered a program with the assistance of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in Africa, Basketball Without Borders. This program grows the game by promoting and identifying young talent from all areas, including Africa.“The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa,” said Commissioner Silver. “Combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa.”

The president’s national emergency declaration is being challenged by lawsuits in federal courts. 16 states have banded together, including California, New York and Colorado, and filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that says Trump’s declaration is unconstitutional, according to the Associated Press. 

The pushback against the president doesn’t end there. The American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, filed a lawsuit against Trump’s national emergency in the Northern District of California. ​

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