NBA Today: Top 5 African Origin Players in the League Right Now
As of this moment, NBA's legs in Africa might be the deepest and the most effective they have ever been. With the multi-billion dollar organisation planning it's latest venture "the Africa league" in the buzzing continent, American and Europe-based recruiters have rushed in with hopes of scouting the latest young brass there is.
“The ingredients have always been there in terms of talent and passion for the game,” Fall(Former Vice president of the NBA’s Africa branch and current President of the Africa League) said in an interview. “There is a huge opportunity to create something really authentically African that could be a home for the tremendous talent that exists.”
There is no reason to believe that the Africans lack athleticism needed to survive in the brutal physicality that the league presents. Rather, past experience has ample proof of the fact that they are just as conditioned to thrive and grow their skillset as their American counterparts.
With the recent surge of elite African basketball talent at its peak, let's take a look at some of the established names in the league right now - having an African-origin - who have paved way for the ones to come.
#5 Serge Ibaka (Toronto Raptors, Congo Republic)
Raised by a father who represented the Congolese National Basketball team along with a mother who played for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Serge Ibaka didn't have to look far for his hooping inspiration.
After moving to Spain and shining at the Reebok EuroCamp in 2008, Ibaka caught the eye of NBA scouts who referred to his athleticism as "off the charts".
He was drafted as the 24th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the then-Seattle SuperSonics.
Ever since his debut, Ibaka has been impressive throughout the 10 regular seasons he has played including a recently concluded NBA Title run with the Toronto Raptors - wherein he averaged a career-high 15 points per game.
Even though the Raptors are no longer realistically capable of defending their title with the departure of Kawhi Leonard, Ibaka found a new lease of life last season and the front office is confident of his return this year as well.