The National Basketball Association (NBA) held its second NBA Africa Game this month in Johannesburg, South Africa. The NBA is a professional North American basketball league and was founded in the United States in 1946. The league has 30 teams, each made up of some of the best basketball players in the world.
Unlike football or soccer, as it is commonly known in Africa, basketball does not have a long history on the continent. Basketball was first introduced to Africa in the 1960s and has since become the second-most popular sport here. Taking this into consideration, it is only befitting that one of the world’s most prominent basketball league’s hosts a tournament in Africa.
The NBA is committed to the development of Africa’s youth and this sentiment is echoed by GE Africa’s dedication to youth development, so it stands to reason that GE was one of the official marketing partners of the NBA Africa Game 2017, which included an exhibition game, an NBA Fan Zone and an NBA Africa Innovation Summit at Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg.
At the NBA Africa Innovation Summit, Jay Ireland, President and CEO of GE Africa, spoke about the many development programmes GE Africa is currently running in countries across the continent. The summit was held on the eve of the exhibition game and had several captains of industry from Africa, Europe and North America participating. The focus of the summit was to accelerate sports development and technological innovation in Africa.
GE Garages is one of the initiatives that GE has embarked on to empower youth across Africa and the world. The GE Garage programme was developed in the US to reinvigorate outside-the-box thinking and innovation. Due to the success of the Garages initiative in Nigeria, the company opened a dedicated GE Lagos Garage to assist young entrepreneurs in the country in becoming more familiar with technological advancements such as 3D printing and modern manufacturing.
In line with the overarching theme of innovation at the summit, GE Africa set up a mini Garages exhibition with two 3D printers in the NBA Fan Zone. The exhibition was visited by more than 300 people who were given the opportunity to experience the technology on display.
During the summit, Ireland said: “The NBA Africa Game 2017 has been a great opportunity for GE Africa to not only showcase the company’s forward movement in technological innovation and development, but to further invest in youth development in the region. As a company, we remain committed to investing in innovation and skills development across Africa, and would like to see more initiatives like the NBA Africa Game 2017.”
As for the game itself, basketball fans were very excited about the outcome that matched Team World, who won the game 108-97, against Team Africa. Team Africa was made up of various NBA players, who were born, or have parents who were born, in Africa, and Team World was comprised of NBA players from the rest of the world.
Image above: The GE 3D printer display at the NBA Fan Zone at Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg, South Africa. Credit: Courtesy GE