The NBA has selected Amadou Gallo Fall as president of the Basketball Africa League, it was announced Tuesday.
The BAL will be a 12-team league that is scheduled to start play in 2020 under the supervision of the NBA and FIBA, the world’s governing body of basketball. It marks the first time that the NBA will help operate a league outside of North America.
Fall is currently the NBA’s vice president and managing director for Africa, where the league has been heavily involved in developing youth programs, including the NBA Academy Africa, Jr. NBA and Basketball Without Borders Africa.
More than a dozen players born in Africa were on rosters to open the NBA season, including 10 directly involved with development programs on the continent, the NBA reported.
“Amadou’s efforts to grow basketball and the NBA’s business across Africa have been extraordinary, and he is an ideal choice to lead the Basketball Africa League,” said Mark Tatum, the NBA’s deputy commissioner and chief operating officer. “This historic initiative will not only further enhance the game in Africa but also provide new opportunities in media, technology and infrastructure on the continent.”
Fall, who is from Senegal and joined the NBA in 2010, helped open the league’s office in South Africa as well as a basketball academy in his native country. He will move into his new role immediately while assisting in the search for his replacement.
Champions of six African leagues will qualify for the BAL, which will run from March through May next year. The other six teams will be selected through qualification tournaments.
Teams from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia are expected to be among the competitors. The NBA says no more than two teams from one nation can qualify for the BAL.
The NBA has announced the 12 referees who will officiate the NBA Finals: Tony Brothers, Mike Callahan, James Capers, Marc Davis, Kane Fitzgerald, Scott Foster, John Goble, David Guthrie, Eric Lewis, Ed Malloy, Jason Phillips and Zach Zarba.