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NBA to open academy in Africa in hunt for future stars

The US' National Basketball Association (NBA) is set to open an academy in Africa next year, in what's seen as its latest move to unearth fresh talent from outside the US and extend the lucrative league's reach into new territories.
NBA to open academy in Africa in hunt for future stars
The African academy will be based in Thies, Senegal, and follows similar NBA projects opened this year in China and Australia.

The academy, which is due to open next spring, will take the most talented boys and girls from age 13 and up.

Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA vice-president and managing director for Africa, has told the BBC that preliminary trials are being held in Senegal over the next couple of days, as part of the first phase of finding new African talent.

The NBA had strong business reasons for following through on the plan, he said:

We are no different than any other global company - Microsoft, GE - when they want the best programme, the best engineers, they invest in the training and development."

The dream for many of those who get onto the programme will be to play in the NBA and make the big time.

But Mr Fall says that those who don't become household names will not be left behind:

The unique thing is young players who are... lucky enough to be selected will be nurtured holistically and they will still have the opportunity to pursue a college degree, no matter whether they're talented enough to make into the NBA straight out of the academy.

Let's say somebody gets hurt, we're still going to make sure that they continue their journey to success just through education."



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