Barack Obama is joining NBA Africa as a strategic partner and will have a minority equity stake in the organization, the NBA announced on Tuesday (July 27). According to a press statement, the former president hopes to “help advance the league’s social responsibility efforts across the continent.”
“The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States — using the game to create deeper connections around the world and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality and empowerment across the continent,” Obama said in the statement. “By investing in communities, promoting gender equality and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people.”
“I’ve been impressed by the league’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership shown by so many African players who want to give back to their own countries and communities,” he added. “That’s why I’m proud to join the team at NBA Africa and look forward to a partnership that benefits the youth of so many countries.”
According to the NBA, Obama will use his new minority stake to help fund his Obama Foundation, the educational nonprofit that he and Michelle Obama founded in 2014.
“We are honored that President Obama has become a strategic partner in NBA Africa and will support our wide-ranging efforts to grow the game of basketball on the continent,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “In addition to his well-documented love for basketball, President Obama has a firm belief in Africa’s potential and the enormous growth opportunities that exist through sports. NBA Africa will benefit tremendously from his engagement.”
NBA Africa runs the Basketball Africa League, which launched its inaugural season this May. Teams from 12 countries competed in the season, including the Rwanda Patriots, which J. Cole played for.