Folawiyo Group, Helios Fairfax partner NBA to form new Africa entity
The National Basketball Association (NBA) yesterday announced the formation of NBA Africa, a new entity that will conduct the league’s business in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League (BAL) – a partnership between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.
The inaugural BAL season, featuring 12 of the top club teams from 12 African countries, is underway in Kigali, Rwanda, and the first BAL finals will be held on Sunday.
The strategic investors include a consortium led by Babatunde ‘Tunde’ Folawiyo, Chairman and CEO of Yinka Folawiyo Group; and Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation (HFP), led by Tope Lawani, Co-CEO of HFP and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Helios Investment Partners (Helios), HFP’s investment advisor.
The investors’ expertise in a wide range of industries and established relationships with African businesses, governments and NGOs will help accelerate the NBA’s growth across the continent.
Lawani and Folawiyo will also join the NBA Africa board of directors, which is led by NBA Africa CEO, Victor Williams, and includes NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver and NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, Mark Tatum.
The announcement was made yesterday by Silver, Tatum, Williams, Lawani and Folawiyo, who were joined by NBA Global Ambassador and NBA Africa investor, Dikembe Mutombo (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in advance of Africa Day, an annual worldwide commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) held on May 25.
In addition to Mutombo, additional investors in NBA Africa include NBA Legends Junior Bridgeman, Luol Deng (South Sudan), Grant Hill and Joakim Noah.
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