J. Cole’s On Season With The NBA x Basketball Africa League
By Gary J.Nix
- J. Cole plays for the Rwanda Patriots in the Basketball Africa League that just kicked off with its inaugural season
- Major companies such as Pepsi and Jordan Brand are already partners in the new basketball league along President Obama
Rapper J. Cole had a jam-packed weekend. Not only did he drop his new album, “The Off-Season”, he also debuted as a player for the Rwanda Patriots in the newly launched Basketball Africa League (BAL). The 12-team league was formed by a partnership between The NBA and FIBA (The International Basketball Association) and marked the NBA's first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America. Opportunities for the NBA across the continent are two-fold, though: (1) The BAL can serve as another feeder system for basketball players to the NBA; and (2) an opportunity to grow a league on a continent projected to have a spending power of $2 trillion by 2025.
Why This Matters: The NBA has consistently been building on its global reach ever since David Stern was the commissioner. Additionally, its influence has been felt worldwide with the international presence found within its ball clubs. Well-known players such as Cameroon’s Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam, as well as Sudan’s Bol Bol, are only some of the African stars that add up to 13% of the entire international representation in the league.
Furthermore, the combination of adding a prominent rapper such as J. Cole onto the roster of the Patriots BBC (Rwanda) and the involvement of President Barack Obama is likely to spark more interest from North America. This could potentially create more media opportunities for the BAL. Major companies such as Pepsi and Jordan Brand are already partners in the new basketball league.
Situational Awareness: Although NBA revenue dropped almost 10% to $7.92 billion last season, according to Forbes, that number is up approximately 35% from 2015 and represents a number slightly lower than 2018 revenue. Lastly, with the cultural resonance of basketball jerseys in general, another cultural boom is likely to come from the global Black community.
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