Everything you need to know about the Basketball Africa League 2022

The Basketball Africa League roadshow is in Kigali in May, for the Playoffs and Finals, from May 21-28, where Zamalek will attempt to remain unbeaten and thus defend their BAL title.

The second edition of the BAL saw 12 teams from around the continent compete in a very different format from 2021, across three months instead of a two-week COVID-induced bubble.

The tournament was divided into three stints. The Sahara Conference took place in Dakar, Senegal from March 5-15, with Rwanda Energy Group coming out tops. The Sahara Conference saw REG, Tunisia's US Monastir, Morocco's AS Sale, and Guinea's SLAC qualify for the playoffs.

The Nile Conference was played in Cairo, Egypt, from April 9-19, and saw Zamalek, Petro de Luanda, Cape Town Tigers, and FAP advanced to the final eight.

READ: The full BAL game schedule

Key content:

KIGALI - Playoff and Final

US influence not enough to save chaotic Cape Town Tigers' season

The Cape Town Tigers can hold their heads high after defying expectations at the Basketball Africa League [BAL], but a lack of cohesion on and off the court cost them a chance to progress further than the quarterfinals. Teething problems with administration, and internal disagreements among coaches and players alike, meant a star-studded team was never able to realise its full potential, and even reaching the Playoffs in Kigali was unexpected.

Zamalek's Anas Mahmoud has 'tools and skills' to be in the NBA

After falling short of earning an NBA roster spot during last year's Summer League stint with the Toronto Raptors, Zalamek center Anas Mahmoud is determined to earn another shot through the Basketball Africa League.

Myck Kabongo inherits J. Cole's crown as the BAL's best rapper

Cape Town Tigers point guard Myck Kabongo is a significantly better basketballer than fellow rapper J. Cole, it's fair to say, but the Democratic Republic of Congo international has nothing but respect for the Grammy winner, both on the court and off. Kabongo and Cole are not unknown to each other, even before they both appeared at the inaugural Basketball Africa League last year, as they've know each other since their high school days. Cole's manager, Ibrahim 'IB' Hamad is a good childhood friend of Kabongo's, who grew up in Canada and the US.

DJ Strawberry on fatherhood, baseball, and finding his own path

DJ Strawberry is very, very used to people seeing his full name, Darryl Strawberry Jr., and doing a double take. "Not the real Darryl Strawberry?!" they'll say, as if the 36-year-old basketballer could conceivably be a 60-year-old baseball legend. It doesn't bother him, really. Being a professional athlete, and a former NBA player, the Zamalek shooting guard is well used to navigating questions about his father, their relationship and the obviously different sporting choice he made.

Petro coach Jose Neto's mission is to de-age Angolan basketball

Angola is an African basketball giant, and Petro de Luanda is the country's best team. But they're veterans, to put it nicely, and Petro coach Jose Neto hopes to bring the team's average age down. Way down. Petro finished third at the inaugural Basketball Africa League last year, and are well placed for a run to the final next week in Kigali, Rwanda. They're incredibly experienced, but the core of veterans will soon run out of time, leaving the team floundering.

Inside the NBA's plan to find the next Giannis in Nigeria

The NBA finally have a footprint in Africa's most populous country, with an office opening in Lagos, Nigeria, in February this year, and Gbemisola Abudu, NBA Africa VP and country lead, is on a mission to make it as wide as possible. With the NBA boasting a number of high-profile Nigeria-origin players over the years, including Greece international Giannis Antetokounmpo [his original Nigerian surname was Adetokunbo], Abudu and NBA Africa are eager to develop the wealth of talent from grassroots level up.

Vincent Ntunja shook hands with Michael Jordan, then went back home

Some would say that Vincent Ntunja walked away from a potential NBA career, but the people of Gugulethu in Cape Town, where he has become a basketball and philanthropic icon, would say he walked towards them. When Ntunja was in high school, dreaming of the bright arena lights of the USA, he won the MVP award at Michael Jordan Flight School, presented to him by the man himself, but then he turned his back on it all.

NBA and BAL providing African teens with an alternative to soccer

NBA Academy players Emmanuel Okorafor, from Nigeria, and Khaman Maluach, from South Sudan, have a lot in common, from a love for basketball to a shared passion for playing FIFA... but they differ very strongly when it comes to the Premier League teams they support. Bitter rivals Chelsea and Manchester United have staunch supporters in the two teens, who met when they joined the NBA Academy in Senegal, and then played at the Basketball Africa League's Nile Conference in April.

How to watch:

The BAL airs across Africa on ESPN's channels on DStv, as well as selected Free To Air partners. ESPN+ and ESPN News will air the tournament in the US.


Manny Berberi and Mayan Kiir add Australian flair to BAL

Cobra Sports head coach Manyang 'Manny' Berberi is following a formula that has served him well since his basketball coaching career started in Australia: Putting faith in South Sudanese youngsters and teeing them up for bigger opportunities.

Carlos Morais on his time with the Raptors, and being 'like Lionel Messi'

Petro de Luanda shooting guard Carlos Morais has been around professional hoops for half of his 36-year life, with more success than most in African basketball, but looks back on early career decisions with a pang of regret. The Angola international and Olympian, who is playing for Petro at the BAL in Cairo this month, has had many career highlights, most notably playing for his country at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and signing with the Toronto Raptors in 2013.

Fall wants a Nigerian team in the BAL next season

Twitter Facebook Messenger Pinterest Email print Nigeria is not represented at the 2022 edition of the Basketball Africa League, and BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall is cognisant of the country's importance to the business of basketball on the continent. Nigerian team Rivers Hoopers played in the inaugural edition of the BAL in 2021, and again qualified for this year's showcase, before being disqualified by FIBA due to breaching government interference rules.

Steve Nash's confidence inspired Zamalek's Strawberry

Former Phoenix Suns guard DJ Strawberry may have played alongside Steve Nash for just one season, but the now-Brooklyn Nets coach, with his work ethic and confidence, left a lasting impression on Strawberry as a rookie. Strawberry, who now plays for Basketball Africa League champions Zamalek, was drafted 59th overall out of Maryland by the Suns in 2007. He played on a star-studded team alongside Hall of Famer Nash, Grant Hill, Shaquille O'Neal, and Leandro Barbosa.

Former NBA duo to lead Zamalek to second BAL title

Former NBA players Ike Diogu and DJ Strawberry will need to use all their experience to help Basketball Africa League champions Zamalek in their title defence, which starts April 9 in Cairo. The Nile Conference, the second leg of this year's BAL, tips off at the Hassan Moustafa Sports Arena on Saturday, and heavy favourites Zamalek will be under pressure from a passionate home fanbase.

Meet Lebo Mofokeng, Cape Town Tigers' triple threat

If you are looking for someone to build you a basketball court, a coach to teach you how to play on it, and an opponent to give you a run for your money, then Cape Town Tigers small forward Lebo Mofokeng is a solid candidate for all three roles. Having never touched a basketball until college, the 6ft4in South African has risen up the ranks to reach the Basketball Africa League, while also earning college qualifications in civil engineering and sports science.


Dikembe Mutombo is the NBA's greatest ambassador for Africa (Andscape)

In 1987, Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo left the Democratic Republic of Congo with a USAID scholarship at Georgetown University in Washington hoping to become a doctor. Mutombo would go on to not only graduate from Georgetown, but become one of the school's all-time great basketball players. In 2022, the Basketball Hall of Famer is one of the greatest defenders in NBA history, but more important, Mutombo has remained the NBA's greatest ambassador for Africa and perhaps the world.

Mark Tatum Q&A: NBA thinks after has tremendous potential (Andscape)

At the BAL's opening weekend, the NBA's deputy commissioner talks about the future of basketball in Africa, women as NBA coaches and more.

NBA hopeful coach Robert Pack relishing chance with BAL (Andscape)

Perhaps one day Robert Pack will get his opportunity to be a head coach in the NBA or at an American college. But as he gazed from his hotel balcony in the city of Kigali, Rwanda, the former NBA player and assistant coach said all he was focused on was the opportunity the Basketball Africa League gave him to finally be a head coach.

Jared Harrington ditches CT Tigers for Cobra Sport

American Jared Harrington has made the switch from Cape Town Tigers to South Sudan's Cobra Sport, announcing the move just days before the start of the Basketball Africa League [BAL].

AS Sale coach Liz Mills has the respect of all her players

Newly-hired AS Salé coach Liz Mills will make history when she leads the Moroccan champions at the Basketball Africa League, becoming the first woman to coach a BAL side, and the first to coach a Moroccan men's team.

Which rapper could fill J. Cole's kicks at the BAL?

This year, Cole will not be making the trip to Dakar, Cairo, or Kigali, [and neither will the Patriots], but there are a few other rappers out there who would probably not mind having a go.

Terrell Stoglin has always been at peace with himself

Terrell Stoglin, who will again be playing for AS Sale in the Basketball Africa League, is philosophical when looking back on his basketball career so far, saying he has never been anything other than at peace with himself. Stoglin, who was the first player to score 40 points in the BAL, will return to the tournament with the Moroccan side, though is perhaps most well-known for his critical comments on rapper J. Cole's presence at the BAL last year.

How Nigeria's Rivers Hoopers got kicked out of the BAL

The second edition of the Basketball Africa League will be missing a significant component when it tips off in March, after Nigeria's Rivers Hoopers were replaced at the 11th hour by Morocco's AS Sale. Both sides competed at the first edition, and Hoopers had qualified for this year's tournament before FIBA, the sport's governing body, deemed them ineligible and replaced them with Sale, who had reached the quarterfinals in 2021.

Cape Town Tigers coach Al Harrington on Black coaches

Former NBA veteran and Cape Town Tigers assistant coach Al Harrington has criticized the NFL for failing to emulate basketball's attitude towards hiring Black coaches.

Ike Diogu says LeBron James is the best player he's faced

Nigeria captain Ike Diogu played against the likes of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal during his near-decade in the NBA, but says LeBron James stands out as the most complete opponent he ever faced.