Heat small forward Luol Deng will captain one of two teams in the NBA’s first game in Africa.
The exhibition — Team Africa vs. Team World — is set for August 1 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Deng will lead Team Africa, which will be comprised of players either born in Africa or with parents from the continent. A long-time champion of charitable works in Africa, Deng was born in South Sudan before moving to Egypt during Sudan’s second civil war. While in Egypt, Deng and his older brother were introduced to the game of basketball by NBA great Manute Bol.
“I would never have dreamt that one day I would be playing in an NBA game in Africa,” Deng said in a promotional video for the game. “Basketball is a growing sport; it’s an international sport. It’s just touching so many different parts of the world now. A lot of people in Africa have always been passionate about it, and growing up they never had the chance to watch basketball.”
Team Africa will be coached by Spurs legend Gregg Popovich. His assistants will be Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and Oklahoma City Thunder assistant Monty Williams, who coached the New Orleans Pelicans last season. Others players on Team Africa include Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors), Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves), Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Luc Mbah a Moute (Sacramento Kings).
Lionel Hollins of the Brooklyn Nets will coach Team World, which will be led by team captain Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers. Other players on Team World include Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic).