Tha Sports Junkies 101

Takeaways From The 2017 NBA Africa Game

Basketball Without Borders Africa Serge Ibaka/ via


The NBA In Africa

Saturday marked the 15th installment of Basketball Without Borders (BWB), Africa. BWB is the NBA’s and FIBA’s basketball global outreach and development program. Its goal is to grow the sport while helping young players develop their skills. For this exhibition game, 22 NBA stars from around the world made their way to Johannesburg, South Africa with the intent of making a difference in the community, putting on a good show, and spreading the game of basketball to as many people as possible. During their time in South Africa, the players helped build several brick houses for local families to live in. They also played in support of UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.

Game Recap

The NBA Africa Game featured Team World vs. Team Africa. Team World was made up by NBA players from around the world, such as Dirk Nowitzki, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Lowry, and Kemba Walker, and Team Africa by NBA players from Africa, like Serge Ibaka, Dennis Schroder, and Bismack Biyombo.

This game played out like most NBA exhibition games; The game got off to a slow start and nobody wanted to play defense, but the competitiveness continued to increase as the game reached its end. The first half was very fan oriented, featuring several alley oops, dunks, and ankle breakers. The first half also featured a half court shot contest between the two teams.

The game started off with an uncontested reverse alley oop dunk courtesy of Victor Oladipo, who would go on to win the game’s MVP award. For the most part, everyone was playing lackluster defense until the very end of the first half. Team Africa fought their way back from a 16-point deficit early on to tie the game before halftime, but once Team World started to turn up the heat, they pulled away from Team Africa, winning the game by a score of 108-97.

For a full list of players and post-game stats, click here.


Exhibition games are not usually as competitive as regular season or playoff games. With that being said, there are always some takeaways from seeing the players compete in the off season.

One takeaway from this game is that a majority of the NBA veterans looked rusty. All throughout the game, players were missing wide open shots and committing silly turnovers. While most of the younger players have the summer league to help keep their abilities sharp, most veterans don’t play in nearly as many games during the off season. It was apparent from Saturday’s game that many of the NBA stars need to start getting back to regular season form.

On the other hand, off season exhibition games like this give the players an opportunity to showcase some of the skills they have been working on in preparation for the upcoming season. Although Andre Drummond shot a mere 1 for 4 from 3, he hit only a handful of 3’s all last season. This could be an indication that he will look to improve upon those numbers this year.

Also, despite a poor performance from beyond the arc, 3rd-year player Emmanuel Mudiay had an outstanding performance on Saturday. He scored 22 points, collected 8 rebounds and dished 9 assists while shooting 10 for 19 from the field. Last season, Mudiay averaged 11 points, 3.9 assists, and 3.2 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game, via If Saturday’s game is any indication of how he will perform this season, Denver Nuggets fans are in for a treat.

Due to the optimal tip off time, an estimated 100 million Africans watched Saturday’s NBA Africa Game. If the actual viewership reached anything close to that, the game will surely continue to spread throughout the continent.

As a result, we can surely expect to see more overseas exhibition matches to come.

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