Masai Ujiri, who is an NBA executive is putting forward his plans to invest in young Africans through his Giants of Africa basketball development foundation.
Of course, the aim of this investment is to find the next big basketball stars while also empowering young Africans with vital life skills.
Each year, Ujiri travels across Africa to educate people about the discipline of basketball. Ujiri, 52, is from Nigeria and he is the vice-chairman and president of the Toronto Raptors, a team in the NBA.
Just in 2019, the Raptors won the NBA Championship, which was the first time a team outside of the US has managed to do.
His foundation called Giants of Africa was founded in 2003, and of course, it comes with a lot of responsibilities.
Basketball Brings a Lot of Benefits
During his time as a scout for NBA teams, Ujiri quickly realized that the educational system in the USA offers plenty of opportunities for young people how to pass obstacles in life.
Ujiri is well aware that not all of those people can play in the NBA, but thanks to the system, they can find life in other sectors of the industry.
He says that basketball creates a path that can be used as an educational tool. It can also serve good to develop a passion for the sport and its aspects.
It is clear to Ujiri that there is so much talent in Africa. In that line, the chance of making it in basketball is much bigger these days, thanks to the fact that the game is more global.
Basketball is one of the most watched sports in the world, so Masai Ujiri’s vision seems like a very logical one.
As proof of how popular basketball is the fact that all the major sports betting sites offer plenty of bet types and markets for all registered punters. If you are new to the sports betting business, then you need to make sure to start betting on the best sportsbooks and enjoy all their perks.
Investments in Courts
As we mentioned above, basketball attracts global interest thanks to improved internet access in the world. However, plenty of Africans who seek to start playing the game are stopped as they don’t have access to good facilities.
As an example, football can be played on any surface, but basketball is a bit more specific. This sport requires a court that has standard hoops, players need to have good shoes, and of course, a good ball is needed.
Therefore, Ujiri decided in 2021 that he is to help build courts in Africa to enable young Africans the chance to play the game. Plans are already underway, with several courts already built, with plenty more in the development stage.
Ujiri realized early on that the basketball infrastructure in Africa needs redeveloping. He makes a comparison with the West by saying that in the USA every high school has a gym, but Africa is still far from that situation.
At the moment, there are courts built in several African countries, including Lagos, Nairobi, Kigali, Nigeria, Ouagadougou, with plenty more waiting to be built anytime soon.
Upon the building of these courts, Ujiri says that he is delighted when he sees videos of young people playing there every day. He knows that by playing basketball, young people in Africa stay off the streets and trouble that they can easily fall in.
Basketball helps them to sharpen their skills, and who knows, some of them may even make it to the biggest stage.
The potential is evident in Africa, and even if young people don’t make the grade, the skills and the discipline learned by playing basketball can help them a lot in their life.
So, it remains to be seen how this project powered by Ujiri will finish, but the early signs are very promising. Africa is seen as an upcoming force in plenty of aspects, and why should basketball be any different?
There are already great sporting legends coming for Africa in different sports, and it seems like a matter of time before we see a flooding of great basketball players. People like Ujiri will surely be among the biggest contributors to that.