Deng, Sefolosha, Nowitzki among NBA Africa captains


New York (AFP)

Britain's Luol Deng, Swiss star Thabo Sefolosha, Germany's Dirk Nowitzki and American Kemba Walker will serve as captains for the NBA Africa Game 2017, organizers announced Monday.

The matchup between Team World and Team Africa, the NBA's second game in the continent, will be staged August 5 in Johannesburg following the 15th edition of the Basketball without Borders Africa skills camps, the league and its players association said.

Nowitzki, a 13-time NBA All-Star who helped the Dallas Mavericks win the 2011 NBA crown, and Walker, an NBA All-Star this past season, will serve as co-captains for Team World.

"I'm really excited," Nowitzki said. "It's great to see how the game is growing across the continent and I'm honored to be a part of this historic event."

"I can't wait to make my first trip to Africa and join Dirk in leading Team World," Walker said. "Playing in an NBA game in Africa will be a special moment I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Los Angeles Lakers forward Deng, a two-time NBA All-Star who was born in what is now South Sudan, is back after serving as Team Africa captain in a 2015 matchup at Johannesburg against a global squad.

"I'm thrilled," Deng said. "The first NBA Africa Game in 2015 was a lot of fun and it will be a privilege to play in front of our African fans once again."

This time he is joined by Sefolosha, an 11-year NBA veteran swingman for the Atlanta Hawks whose father was born in South Africa.

"Having South African roots, it's a dream come true to return to South Africa to play in an NBA game," Sefolosha said. "There are so many talented African players in the league and it will be an honor to lead them."

Team Africa's lineup will include previously announced NBA standouts Bismack Biyombo of the Orlando Magic and Emmanuel Mudiay of the Denver Nuggets, both from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Team World will also include American C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers. Full rosters for both teams and coaches will be announced later.

More than 70 players from Africa or of African heritage have played in the NBA, including Nigerian-born star Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who both played in the 2015 contest at the Ellis Park Arena.