The NBA continues to be an engine for basketball’s growth in the Motherland, and an example of how sports can be a unifying force.
The NBA returned to South Africa for the third NBA Africa Game today, with Team World edging Team Africa 96-92 at Gaat Sun Arena at Time Square in Pretoria. Joel Embiid scored 24 points and snagged eight rebounds for Team Africa, while Danilo Gallinari took home MVP honors with his 23 points on 9 of 10 shooting for Team World.
But the event was about much more than basketball.
The game was played in support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, with Team Africa being comprised of players born in Africa or with direct family ties to the continent, while Team World featured players drawn from the rest of the world.
There are more than 80 current and former NBA players from Africa or with direct family ties to the continent.
Throughout the week, players and coaches honored the legacy of Nelson Mandela and his centenary by building new homes for children and families in need, and teaching the continent’s youth about HIV/AIDS prevention, leadership, character development and gender equity.
In July, Barack Obama delivered the annual Nelson Mandela lecture commemorating the former South African President on what would have been his 100th birthday.