Yesterday the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced captains for the 2017 NBA Africa Game. Included in this year’s line up: long-time captain of our hearts, Dirk Nowitzki.
The exhibition match will be the second NBA Africa Game following its 2015 debut. This year’s game will follow the same format as the first (Team World versus Team Africa) and, also like the first, will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday, August 5.
Kemba Walker will join Dirk as co-captain of Team World, while Thabo Sefolosha (who is Swiss but whose father is South African) and Luol Deng (South Sudan) will lead Team Africa. Other players currently signed on include Bismack Biyombo and Emmanuel Mudiay (both originally from the DRC) for Team Africa and CJ McCollum for Team World.
The 2015 game was the first exhibition game staged by a major American professional sports league on the continent of Africa and featured pretty impressive line-ups on both sides. Team World captain Chris Paul was joined by both Pau and Marc Gasol, among others, while Biyombo led a team that included Serge Ibaka and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Team Africa also featured former Maverick Al-Farouq Aminu and hall-of-famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutumbo.
Dirk and company have a lot to live up to this year: they’ll be looking to defend Team World’s title following their 101-97 victory in 2015.