The NBA has named Amadou Gallo Fall, its vice president and managing director for Africa, as president of the Basketball Africa League, a new professional league featuring teams from across Africa.
“Amadou’s efforts to grow basketball and the NBA’s business across Africa have been extraordinary, and he is an ideal choice to lead the Basketball Africa League,” said Mark Tatum, the National Basketball Association’s deputy commissioner and chief operating officer.
“This historic initiative will not only further enhance the game in Africa but also provide new opportunities in media, technology and infrastructure on the continent,” Tatum said.
The new league, announced by the NBA and the International Basketball Federation earlier this year, is the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America. Play is scheduled to begin next year.
“It’s just a natural progression,” Fall told CNBC Africa. The University of the District of Columbia graduate immediately assumed his new role as BAL president while assisting in the transition and search for a new managing director of the NBA in Africa.
“Our focus was initially to make sure that the tremendous potential talent that we have across the continent has opportunity to participate in our sport. And also we saw a unique opportunity to use the game of basketball as conduit, as a tool to empower young people,” Fall said.
Inducted into the UDC Athletics Hall of Fame earlier this year, the Senegalese native helped open the league’s office in Johannesburg, South Africa, and has directed the NBA’s grassroots basketball development initiatives and partnerships with marketing, media and consumer product companies in Africa.
Under his leadership, the NBA has expanded its grassroots and elite development efforts across the continent, including the Jr. NBA, Basketball Without Borders Africa and the NBA Academy Africa.
Fall has overseen significant growth in the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa, highlighted by three sold-out NBA Africa Games — in Johannesburg in 2015 and 2017 and in Pretoria in 2018 — in support of charities including UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.
“The establishment of the Basketball Africa League is another exciting milestone for the NBA in Africa,” Fall said.
“Having a top-flight professional basketball league in Africa will provide a platform for elite players to showcase their talent and inspire more young boys and girls to play the game.”