Spears noted the league held a scouting combine this week, with former NBA players among those participating:
Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpearsESPN
Basketball Africa League president Amadou Fall addresses players at the league’s first combine this morning. Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo, Nets GM Sean Marks & NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum here. Ex-NBA players Rodney Carney, Chris Smith and Yakhouba Diawara are trying out. https://t.co/4y3pb7yY1V
In February, the NBA and FIBA announced they were creating a 12-team league in Africa. It marks the first time the NBA will operate a league outside North America.
"The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. "Combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa."
According to NBA Communications, each BAL roster will feature 16 players, with 12 active for games. Each team will consist of "at least eight of whom will be citizens in their respective teams' home country and up to four of whom can be from other countries, with no more than two players per team from outside of Africa."
The inaugural BAL season will be played in Cairo, Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and Monastir (Tunisia), with Kigali (Rwanda) hosting the inaugural BAL Finals.
While the BAL is a landmark step for Silver and Co., the NBA has gone overseas on a number of occasions through the years, including to Africa. The league has previously hosted the NBA Africa Game, which includes a format of Team Africa against Team World.
The NBA Africa Game series has hosted three games, most recently in August 2018.