Kenya, NBA ink deal to grow basketball in the country

President William Ruto (right) during the signing of an MOU by Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba and NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams, New York, United States.
[William Samoei Ruto, Twitter]

Kenya has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the  National Basketball Association (NBA) to facilitate the development of basketball infrastructure and talent in the country.

The MOU, signed by Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts Ababu Namwamba and NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams in New York, was witnessed by President William Ruto, Toronto Raptors Vice Chairman and President Masai Ujiri, Basketball Africa League President Amadou Fall, and former NBA All-Star Luol Deng.

The MOU focuses on three key areas:

  • Infrastructure development: The NBA will help Kenya develop an elite-level arena with the capacity to host top-level competitions.
  • Talent development: The NBA will work with Kenya to develop school and community-based basketball programs under the #TalantaHela Initiative. This will include training teachers as certified basketball coaches and scouts.
  • Regional coordination: The NBA will open an office in Nairobi to coordinate its activities in the region.

The MOU is expected to open up a pathway for Kenya's talented basketball players to fully develop their potential, build careers, and sustainable livelihoods.

Vice Chairman and President Toronto Raptors Masai Ujiri, Basketball Africa League President Amadou Fall and Former NBA All-Star Luol Deng were also present. [William Samoei Ruto, Twitter]

"The signing of an agreement with the National Basketball Association (NBA) will facilitate the development of basketball infrastructure in Kenya, with the capacity to host top-level competitions. The pact will also facilitate school and grassroots talent development under the Talanta Hela Initiative and the opening of an NBA office in Nairobi," President Ruto said.

Kenya’s men and women under 23 years 3x3 will this month represent the country in the world championship in Poland. The championship is expected to kick off from September 27 to October 1 in Poland. Kenya will compete at the open men and women as well as the U21/U17 Africa Cup in Cairo, Egypt in December where they will be aiming for the Gold in order to make it to the Olympic Universality Tournament.

The NBA has a long history of supporting basketball development in Africa. In 2019, the league founded the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a professional basketball league featuring 12 teams from across the continent. The BAL's inaugural season was held in Kigali, Rwanda, and its second season was held in Dakar, Senegal.

The NBA also has a number of programs in place to support African basketball players, including the NBA Academy Africa, a training center for elite young players from around the continent; the NBA Global Academy, a training center for top high school basketball players from around the world; and the NBA G League, the NBA's minor league.

Premium Galana puts up case against Njeri's claim to Sh17b diesel import
Public wage bill to hit Sh363b in first quarter on pay reviews
Premium How SGR contract still haunts and weighs down our economy
Shipping firm queries second vessel in dispute