An African Takeover at the 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend

where sport and culture intersect

Since its establishment several decades ago, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has stretched it’s impact beyond the court to cut across a slew of creative industries including fashion, music, art and more. This introduction of other elements including the halftime show or fashion tunnel, currently considered as one of the most priced runways, has enabled a smooth intersection between sports and entertainment that allows others beyond stakeholders and superfans key into the fun. We’ve seen this influence trickle down to Africa, with the aid of Gbemisola Abudu, the Vice President of NBA Africa and country head  for NBA Nigeria. Back in 2022, Tems, Burna Boy and Rema graced the stage of the Afropop-themed halftime show and Nigerian visual artist, Dennis Osadebe, partnered for an installation dubbed ‘Passing/Building/Victory’ late last year.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The NATIVE (@thenativemag)

Consisting of five figurines, the exhibition explored the key role of teamwork and how collaborations aid in community development, a message that perfectly aligns with the NBA’s efforts to inspire audiences across the world with basketball. As expected, the 2024 All-Star game in Indiana last weekend was no different. In addition to a Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat link-up via Nigerian players, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bam Adebayo, a slew of African creatives; TV and film personalities, Bontle Modiselle, Korty and Tobi Bakre, alongside  South African music stars, Robot Boii and Kamo Mphela, joined in the celebration of this sport-pop culture intersection. 

Speaking about the NBA Africa All Star Luncheon, Abudu shares “It was a great opportunity to engage with NBA senior leadership, FIBA [International Basketball Federation], NBA Africa investors and former NBA players and stakeholders from a cross section of industries. Some of them [were] from Nigeria, including Tope Lawani of Helios Investments and Afrobeats musician Pheelz to name a few. It was also a great platform [to] showcase the NBA and BAL’s economic and cultural impact to the continent. We look forward to continuing to build on this momentum and expand the game in Nigeria and across Africa seeing as the fourth BAL [Basketball Africa League] season is set to get underway in less than three weeks.” With the promise of more cross-industry collaborations and partnerships in the future, the NBA’s mission to enrich world communities is well under way. 

[Featured Image Credits/The NATIVE]