JOHANNESBURG - As the excitement builds up for the third NBA Africa Game to be hosted in South Africa, this time at Pretoria’s Sun Times Square on August 4, it is perhaps fitting that we give you a glimpse into the calibre of star players who will be on show.
The match will once again pit the best NBA players with African roots against players of the Mother Continent.
Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers, Cameroon)
Embiid is what here in South Africa we call a Freedom baby, having been born in 1994 (March 16) in Yaounde, Cameroon. He participated in the 2011 Basketball Without Borders camp that took place in Johannesburg and three years later he was selected third overall in the NBA Draft. But due to a foot injury that kept him out for two years, he only made his NBA debut in October 2016.
Such is his talent, though, that he made an immediate impact and went on to play in the NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles at the beginning of this year. Embiid is excitedly looking ahead to his first NBA Africa game having missed out on last year’s one due to injury.
Bismack Biyombo (Orlando Magic, DR Congo)
He is a crowd favourite here, as evidenced by the raucous reception he received in the last two NBA Africa Games in Joburg. He was also a hit with the kids of the orphanage the players visited last year the DR Congo native is also a man with a golden heart. He does not only host annual camps in Lubumbashi, Kinshasa and Goma but co-founded the Kivu International School in Goma.
He was selected in the 2011 NBA Draft having got his big break when he was invited to play at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon, where he became the first player to score a triple-double. He has since played for the Charlotte Hornets, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic.
It was an honor to have received the Global Good Award from @Bet @Betintel. This award goes to all the people that are giving back to the community by bringing their positive energy and creating opportunities for others. I know how though it is for those kids that are searching pic.twitter.com/vSxUB0ByRy
For the opportunity to change their countries and communities, because I was one of them. But, We should not stop here because of the circumstances, we have to create a better environment and opportunities for the boys and girls out there #ChildOfAfrica