KIGALI, RWANDA, May 30, 2021 – Zamalek (Egypt) today defeated US Monastir (Tunisia) 76-63 to win the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) championship, which took place at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda and has been broadcast to fans in 215 countries and territories in 15 languages. BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall presented Zamalek with the BAL Championship trophy designed to represent the baobab, which is native to Africa and known as the “tree of life” for providing food, water, shelter and protection for people and animals.
Following the match, BAL announced the league’s first end-of-season award recipients, which honor pioneers of African NBA legends Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Manute Bol (Sudan). from South).
The BAL created the Hakeem Olajuwon BAL Most Valuable Player Award, the Dikembe Mutombo BAL Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Manute Bol BAL Sportsmanship Award in recognition of their legendary career in the NBA and their contributions off the field. The winners were selected by a panel of sports journalists, broadcasters and NBA team scouts in attendance, with the nominees receiving three points for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote, and one point. for a vote for third place. BAL’s 12 head coaches voted for the BAL Manute Bol Sportsmanship Award. Coaches could not vote for players on their own team. The BAL group stage and playoffs were considered part of the voting process.
Walter Hodge (Zamalek) was named Hakeem Olajuwon BAL’s MVP after leading his team to an unbeaten 6-0 record with per game averages of 15.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds.
Anas Osama Mahmoud (Zamalek) was named Dikembe Mutombo BAL Defensive Player of the Year after posting game averages of 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
Makrem Ben Romdhane (US Monastir) received the Manute Bol BAL Sportsmanship Award for exemplifying the ideals of sportsmanship and camaraderie.
Additional awards will be announced tomorrow on BAL’s social media channels, including the BAL All-First Team, the 2021 BAL Scoring Champion and the Ubuntu Award, which is presented to an individual or organization who has had an impact on the local community during the first BAL. season.
Olajuwon became the first player from Africa to be drafted into the NBA when he was selected first in the 1984 draft by the Houston Rockets. The two-time NBA champion and Hall of Fame inductee was also named league MVP in 1993-94 when he led the Rockets to the franchise’s first NBA title. Mutombo has won four NBA Defensive Player of the Year records and was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team six times during his Hall of Fame career. Bol, who died in 2010, enjoyed a 10-year career in the NBA as a 7-7 center and is recognized as one of the most imposing shot blockers of his generation.
The champions of the national leagues of Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia have earned their participation in the inaugural BAL season. The remaining six teams, from Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda, secured their participation through BAL qualifying tournaments organized by the FIBA regional office for Africa. across the continent at the end of 2019.
The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA, is a new professional league of 12 club teams from across Africa. The BAL, headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, builds on the club competitions that FIBA’s regional office for Africa has hosted in Africa and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to run a league in outside of North America. Fans can follow the BAL @theBAL on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and register their interest in receiving more information at www.theBAL.com.