The long-awaited Basketball Africa League will debut on May 16 in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) is a league that was developed by the partnership of the NBA and the FIBA. This becomes the NBA’s first collaboration to operate another league outside of the North American continent.

The BAL inaugural season will consist of 12 teams from across Africa, playing 26 games at Kigali Arena in Rwanda. The BAL was originally going to debut on March 13, 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic put those plans on hold.

Now, the plans have resumed and the league will begin its inaugural season. “We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena,” said BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall. “Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture.”

The BAL has created robust health and safety protocols for its 12 teams and team personnel. The league’s health and safety protocols are based on the guidance of public health officials and medical experts from the World Health Organization and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The newly created league will begin with an 18-game group phase with the 12 teams divided into three groups of four. In the group phase, each team will face the teams in its groups once. The top eight teams from the groups will advance to the playoffs. The playoffs will be composed of three rounds and single elimination. The finals will be played on May 30.

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