The National Basketball Association (NBA) on Monday commissioned a new training center in Saly, Senegal, the first of its kind in Africa, as part of its drive to attract young teenagers to the league.
The new facility, which features two indoor basketball courts, a multidimensional activity center, a weight room, conference rooms as well as dormitories and educational facilities, will be the primary training location for NBA Academy Africa future hopefuls from across the continent, the league said in a statement.
“We are thrilled to open this new world-class venue in Saly for NBA Academy Africa prospects,” said Amadou Gallo Fall, vice president and managing director of NBA Africa.
“This facility will provide aspiring players from across the continent with state-of-the-art courts and training equipment, under the tutelage of our NBA coaches and our world-class academic staff,” he said.
The NBA Academy Africa is operated in partnership with the SEED Project (Sports for Education and Economic Development), a Senegalese non-profit organization that uses basketball as a platform to engage youth in academic, athletic and leadership programs.
Youngsters at the center will hope to follow in the footsteps of Senegalese native Gorgui Dieng, who is an alumnus of the SEED Project, and went on to land a mammoth $64 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2016.
The launch is part of the NBA’s global push to educate talented youngsters, aged 14-20, with facilities opened in Australia, China, India, Mexico since October 2016.