The NBA is coming to South Africa in August.
The U.S.' National Basketball Association has visited twice before — in 2015 and 2017. This time, NBA Africa will play live at the Sun Arena at the Time Square casino complex in Pretoria, on August 4.
We have a wide range of young talented players on the continent – which we think can be, by a large margin, some of the best and athletic players in the leagueKita Matungulu, director of basketball operations
The match will see Team Africa, which includes NBA stars who play in the U.S. but were born in Africa or are of African descent, take on Team World: NBA stars from the U.S. and Europe.
In HuffPost's exclusive interview with NBA Africa on Thursday, Kita Matunuglu, the director of basketball operations for Africa, spoke about the NBA Africa game and how African talent has influenced the NBA.
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"2015 was our first NBA Africa game, and after receiving great feedback from the fans we went on to host it again in 2017. We are very excited about this one."
The NBA, which opened its offices in South Africa in 2010, has been growing its continental footprint since launching its annual Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa camp in 2003.
Matunuglu said South Africa was a natural choice for NBA Africa, as it aims to gain access to the wide range of talent on the continent.
"There is a great amount of talent in Africa, but we are more focused on making the game of basketball more accessible and getting kids to play rather than scouting the talent. There is naturally place for that since our launch of The NBA Academy Africa in Senegal last year, which is focused on elite talent development."
"The excitement of the fans has meant that we are moving to a bigger arena [after Ellis Park in 2015, and The Dome in Randburg in 2017], and this event is being sold quite fast."
"Some of the players with direct ties to Africa went on to achieve great things — from two-time NBA Champion Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria selected first in the 1984 NBA Draft, to Steve Nash, who was born in Johannesburg and was an NBA MVP and eight-time NBA All-Star, to Dikembe Mutombo, who is a Hall of Famer and NBA Global Ambassador".
"Basketball is the second-biggest sport on the continent. We have a wide range of young talented players who we think can, by a large margin, be some of the best and most athletic players in the league".
Tickets for the NBA Africa game are already available on Computicket, ranging in price from R265 to R2,555. Matunuglu has urged loyal basketball fans to continue watching the game and to purchase their tickets for the big match.
The visiting teams will include NBA all-stars Joel Embiid and DeMar DeRozan, to name just two. Full details of the teams coming will be announced soon.