President Barack Obama Joins NBA Africa As a Strategic Partner

Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The former POTUS will help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts and build out NBA Africa's ecosystem.

In the growing list of things former President Barack Obama has on his list, who among us had him participating with the NBA on their Bingo card?

On Tuesday, July 27, the National Basketball Association announced via news release that the 44th POTUS “will help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts across the continent [of Africa], including programs and partnerships that support greater gender equality and economic inclusion.”

With President Obama joining NBA Africa, the league wants to express how it is “focused on expanding the NBA’s presence in priority African markets, deepening the league’s engagement with players and fans, and continuing to grow Africa’s basketball ecosystem.”

It’s no secret that Obama, who often played basketball in his youth, has a wicked jump shot. His love for the game was shared in an Instagram post on the official NBA page.

“Even though I never had the talent to play at the highest level, basketball still shaped my life. It taught me how to work hard, how to compete, how to be part of a team,” he says in a video accompanying the announcement on the NBA’s website. 

As the first and only Kenyan American to hold the highest office in the land as president of the United States, Obama credits his father, who was from the Kenyan village of Nyangoma-Kogelo, with giving him his first basketball when he was 10.

“The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States—using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent,” Obama said in the news release. “By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people.”

Said difference has already begun as Team Nigeria showcased how Naija Power can overcome the greats, beating Team USA in a hotly contested Olympic exhibition game.

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