The NBA Announces May 16 Start Date for The Basketball Africa League in Rwanda

The popularity of basketball continues to grow the opportunities for players to compete around the globe. Back in December 2019, the NBA had announced the formation of a new professional league, The Basketball Africa League (BAL), featuring 12 teams from across Africa. The league was scheduled to begin in 2020.

Yesterday, the Basketball Africa League (BAL) announced its inaugural season will launch on Sunday, May 16. The league will begin playing at the Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, with 12 teams from across Africa competing in the new professional league.

The BAL, which is a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA Regional Office Africa has organized on the continent. It marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America. The first BAL Finals will be held Sunday, May 30.

“We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena,” said BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall in a written statement. “Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture.”

“We are extremely happy to finally launch the highly anticipated first season of the BAL,” said FIBA Africa and BAL Board President Anibal Manave. “FIBA and the NBA have been working closely together to develop protocols to address the health and safety of all players, coaches and officials. The experience of hosting the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers in Rwanda late last year will contribute to a safe and successful inaugural BAL season.”

This is a list of the 12 club teams from 12 African countries that will compete in the inaugural BAL season:


Algeria GSP (Groupement Sportif des Pétroliers)
Angola Petro de Luanda (Clube Atlético Petroleos de Luanda)
Cameroon FAP (Forces Armées et Police Basketball)
Egypt Zamalek
Madagascar GNBC (Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club)
Mali AS Police (Association Sportive de la Police Nationale)
Morocco AS Salé (Association Sportive de Salé)
Mozambique Ferroviàrio de Maputo
Nigeria Rivers Hoopers BC (Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club)
Rwanda Patriots BC (Patriots Basketball Club)
Senegal AS Douanes (Association Sportive des Douanes)
Tunisia US Monastir (Union Sportive Monastirienne)