The Ghana Basketball Federation hosted a delegation of basketball players and executives from the NBA during a three-day Sprite Ball Clinic to support the growth of basketball in Ghana.
They held discussions with the GBBA, participate in player clinics and familiarize themselves with the current status of the sport in the country.
Leading the delegation was NBA Vice President for Development – Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall. “We are committed to the development of the game of basketball across the African continent and would like to thank the Ghana Basketball Association for hosting us,”
“There is tremendous potential for basketball development in Africa and we believe this holds true for great sporting nation like Ghana. Luol and Pops are great role models for our youth and hopefully this visit will inspire the basketball community and young boys and girls to not only pursue excellence on a basketball court, but also, and perhaps most importantly in the classroom and in society” said Fall.
Joining him was the captain of the Great Britain Basketball team, two-time NBA All-Star and Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng, Great Britain power forward and former NBA player Pops Mensah-Bonsu and NBA Senior Director, NBA Africa – John Manyo-Plange.
Mr. Manyo-Plange who was born and spent his primary school years in Accra had this to say. “For me this is professional and this is personal” said John Manyo-Plange. “Globalization has brought me home. The world is knocking on Ghana’s door and it is a dream come true for me to return to where I spent my childhood, and in this capacity,” he added.
The President of the Ghana Basketball Association, David Addo-Ashong, looks forward to welcoming the NBA to Ghana. “l would like to say that we at the GBBA see this initiative as a brilliant example of what can be achieved when the private sector comes together with government to develop sports.
“It is a dream for so many basketball fans in the country to actually have the opportunity to see NBA stars like Luol Deng and our own Pops Mensah-Bonsu “live” in Ghana and we salute NBA Africa and Benny Bonsu (Pops’ sister who is currently an executive at Viasat 1) with the support of Rite Multimedia for having taken the lead to make this possible” he said.
Working with the Ghana Basketball Association, Luol, born in South Sudan and Pops, who is of Ghanaian descent, engaged with youth at school basketball clinics in Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast to see some of the up-and-coming young talent.
The young players will look to follow the footsteps of Ernest Aflakpui who stood out at the NBA West Africa Development Camp in Burkina Faso last year which consequently landed him a spot at the Basketball without Borders Africa camp in South Africa the same year, courtesy of the NBA and the Ghana Basketball Association.
Ernest now has a scholarship to prep school in the US to get education and continue developing his basketball skills – and plans to attend university on a basketball and academic scholarship.
The clinic has provided the NBA with an opportunity to evaluate the level of talent at the camps and consider some of the top prospects for participation at the 2013Basketball without Borders Africa camp to be hosted in Johannesburg between 29th August and 1st September this year.