When it comes to basketball on the African continent, Nigeria no doubt is a force to reckon with.

It is thus not surprising for many that the country has been penciled down to take part in the professional basketball league being organized by NBA for Africa.

The league will debut next year and will be referred to as the Basketball Africa League.

Aside from Nigeria, it will include teams from several African countries, including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.

The NBA announced its plan along with International Basketball Federation and will conduct qualification tournaments later this year.

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While there are several basketball teams across Africa, a pro league will unify them under one umbrella and provide resources and visibility.

NBA Africa

"The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement over the weekend.

"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."

This new move by the NBA has been well applauded across the globe and former President Barack Obama is one of those who have given thumbs up to this innovation.

"I've always loved basketball because it's about building a team that's equal to more than the sum of its parts," he 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."

The NBA's ties to Africa go a long way. Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby, whose parents are from Nigeria, and Hornets center Bismack Biyombo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, were among the players who attended the NBA All-Star Africa luncheon Saturday, where the announcement was made.

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