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Ruto meets legendary NBA players after NBA Africa agreement

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nba africa
President William Ruto enjoys a light moment with NBA legends in State House Nairobi. Photo/William Samoei Ruto PhD/X
  • Five time NBA champion Ron Harper and former NBA player Micheal Finley met President William Ruto
  • It signifies the NBA’s commitment to growing the game of basketball in East Africa and beyond
  • The NBA Africa Nairobi office is now functional

NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams, five-time NBA champion Ron Harper and former NBA player Michael Finley met President William Ruto at State House Nairobi on Wednesday.

This follows the opening of NBA Office in Nairobi on November 1 and is the first of its kind in Africa. It signifies the the NBA’s commitment to growing the game of basketball in East Africa and beyond.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba signed an MoU with the NBA in New York earlier on in September. Ruto who was also in New York witnessed the signing of the agreement.

NBA Africa Office in Nairobi

With the NBA Africa Nairobi office now functional, the Kenyan president said that this is a big step towards a better future for the Kenyan youth.

nba africa

NBA Africa team at State House in Nairobi. Photo/William Samoei Ruto PhD/X

He termed the visit by the NBA legends the result of the MoU signed between Kenya and the NBA in New York two months ago.

“This is a result of an MOU we signed with the NBA in September in New York,” the Kenyan premier posted on X.

The NBA will implement a grassroot programme in Kenya with the aim of nurturing talent and also popularizing basketball in the region.

“Professional sports can change the lives of the youth. The United States National Basketball Association (NBA) has committed to implement grassroots programmes that will nurture talent and develop the sport in Kenya starting with a Junior NBA clinic targeting 70 boys and girls to mark the opening of the NBA’s fifth African office in Nairobi,” Ruto added.

The NBA’s operations in Kenya and the East African region are coordinated by the NBA office located in Nairobi. This entails creating and sustaining basketball programs, educating coaches and officials, and enticing local fans to watch NBA games.

The establishment of this office is poised to bring about several positive transformations in the realm of basketball in Kenya.

Primarily, it aims to foster the growth of basketball programs within the country, lending support to initiatives like the NBA Jr. NBA program and the NBA Academy Africa program.

A pivotal focus lies in the enhancement of coaching and refereeing standards through targeted training sessions.

In addition, the office endeavours to amplify the popularity of NBA games among Kenyan fans, employing diverse strategies such as social media campaigns and fan events.

Notably, it aspires to broaden the horizons of Kenyan basketball players by creating more avenues for them to pursue professional careers.

Beyond the immediate impact, there’s a long-term vision to inspire the upcoming generation of Kenyan basketball enthusiasts.

Coupled with a commitment to bolstering basketball infrastructure at the grassroots level; there is a lot of construction of basketball courts in local communities across Kenya that will happen.

What is the Impact of NBA Africa Office in Nairobi?

Further, the NBA Jr. NBA program in Kenya, spearheaded by the NBA office in Nairobi, is a noteworthy initiative that has made a substantial impact on youth basketball development.

Globally recognized, this program imparts fundamental basketball skills to boys and girls aged 6-14. Introduced in Kenya in 2021, its swift influence is evident in the positive strides observed in the country’s youth basketball landscape.

In collaboration with the Kenyan Basketball Federation (KBF), the NBA Jr. NBA program operates by selecting schools in partnership with the KBF.

NBA office in nairobi

The official signing of an MoU Okaying the opening of NBA office in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo/State House Kenya

Subsequently, the NBA takes charge of coaching and referee training, while also supplying participating schools with basketball equipment and uniforms.

The inaugural year witnessed the active engagement of over 10,000 boys and girls, contributing significantly to the widespread popularity of basketball among Kenyan children.

Moreover, this program played a pivotal role in honing the skills of young Kenyan basketball enthusiasts, marking a promising beginning for the sport’s development in the region.

The NBA office in Nairobi has also had a positive impact on the promotion of the NBA game in Kenya.

The office has hosted a number of fan events in Kenya, and also launched a number of social media campaigns to promote the sport to Kenyan fans.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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