The Next Step in the NBA’s Global Growth? A Training Center in Senegal
The National Basketball Association is launching its first training facility in Africa later this month. It's part of the league's broader plan to discover talent and expand its reach globally.
The National Basketball Association is slowly working to go global, and a big part of that involves the league working to train the next generation of stars.
With that in mind, the NBA announced Thursday that it would open its first training academy in Africa, in the West African nation of Senegal.
The league has been working on launching similar centers around the globe, which provide venues for preparing potential talent for the league and help promote basketball outside of the United States. The Senegal location is the league’s sixth—Reuters reports that three locations opened in China last year, and centers in India and Australia are also in the works.
Highlights from the NBA Academy Africa Elite Skills Development Camp in Thies, Senegal with special guest @GorguiDieng #NBAAcademyAfrica pic.twitter.com/GU2uzMnNJy— NBA Africa (@NBA_Africa) May 3, 2017
NBA-trained coaches working at the centers use a 360-degree approach to player development. The centers focus on two groups of youth—those under 16 and those under 18.
In comments to the Associated Press, Brooks Meek, the NBA’s vice president of international basketball operations, said the centers are the NBA’s largest investment in developing basketball at a global level. “We are moving full force ahead and are really excited by the progress we’ve made,” Meek told the AP.
In Africa, the center could raise basketball’s profile among young athletes. Many African youth are exposed primarily to soccer, and even the league’s biggest-name African stars, like Nigerian Hakeem Olajuwon, didn’t learn to play the game until their late teens.
“The goal of the NBA Academy Africa is to create a more direct path for young people who have talent so that their future is not determined by chance,” Amadou Gallo Fall, the NBA’s vice president and managing director for Africa, told Reuters.
(via the NBA Africa Twitter page)