South Africa's basketball community

Angola prepares for Olympics

By on July 7, 2008 in News

I think we need to start learning to pronounce a lot of the names of the guys who play on the Angolan National team.  Angola will be in the same pool as the US national team in the Olympics.  It will be easy for a lot of people to root for the US, especially because (my boy) Kobe Bryant is in the squad.  I think though that basketball players, fans and administrators all across Africa need to get behind Angola.  We witnessed their play during the Afribasket tournament earlier in the year, and it has been clear since then that the rest of Africa can learn a lot from the Angolan Federation in terms of developing, sustaining and growing the sport.

Out of all the countries in Africa who are still trying to make their mark in basketball, South Africa is perhaps the slowest to take their place.  At this point, we should be ranked in the top 5 and regarded as a power house in Africa.  We’ve had some of the best mentors working with our national team but they never seemed to have good support from the federation.  We’ve had Sam Vincent as coach, he went on to coach the Nigerian national team and served as head coach to the Charlotte Bobcats; I don’t know how many other teams in Africa have had that opportunity.  Myke Scholl assisted a lot with the national team, a lot of people saw what he was capable of when he coached the And1 Soldiers; he was even instrumental with placing some of our players in different colleges overseas.  He since moved to Detroit to work as their African scout, word has it that he recently took up an appointed to coach in college.

We can go over this matter over and over; we can even breakdown the core roster of our national team, but it will not render much help.  Right now we are in a good position that can create a new and better foundation for the game.  We have a few leagues that are running and I think that administrators have a chance to package teams and the leagues and pitch them to different companies.  Basketball is a very clean sport and I don’t think that companies will have to worry about their Public Relations when they associate themselves with the sport.  We have seen how soccer players waste themselves in drugs and alcoholism, resulting in botched endorsements; but even on top of that, companies still inject more money into soccer.  Why can’t that be the case in basketball?  Why can’t Lesego Molebatsi or Quinton Denyssen be the face of certain products or companies?  Lesego already did an advert for Nedbank and it would be nice to have marketing people line up for him like the girls “might” normally do.  Basketball has a lot of ambassadors who are not really known as basketball players, Akin and Jonathan are perfect examples; I think that we need to try as much as possible to be vocal about our “other” lives as ball players.  Wits Alumni already have a BMW logo on their strip; let’s get more companies to also back up other teams.

Word has it that we might have a bigger league coming up soon, I think this will be an opportunity for a lot of people to start getting paid for the game they live for.  I think that a lot of people need to assume their positions and play their part in growing the sport.  South Africa has been hosting Basketball Without Border for a long time, I’m sure Dikembe Mutombo would like to attend a ball game while he is in SA.  I’m sure that some of the companies who are involved with the NBA for BWB can be brought into the picture and have a more consistent relationship with basketball in South Africa.  And as far as I’m concerned, Sports Illustrated is not the only mag that can be given the opportunity to be part of the game (that’s your q there Peter Jones!!!)  Supersport ran a 30 minute recap of BWB; let us let them know that there is more to basketball in South Africa than that.  Teams need to also step up and treat themselves as franchises; I would love to walk into a SportScene and buy a Sifiso Ngcobo or Thabo Letsebe jersey.  Champion is making a comeback after a long silence; after seeing the apparel for Egoli Magic and Wits Alumni in Newtown, I really wouldn’t mind spending money on that so that I can look proper at games.  It will not be easy, but we have all struggled enough and come this far; it is now time to eat and when we give grace, we thank basketball for the bread that we are about to break.  Our media is conditioned for violence, corruption, soccer, rugby and cricket; does basketball need to run riot to be noticed?  I think not, the only riot we are accustomed to is Djo Loo charging for the rim; this is a sport where role models come standard.

The other day I caught a scrimmage where some of the guys on the Wits Alumni team were running.  I was almost shocked when I got to the parking lot to see that some of the cars that I’m always thinking belong to executives coming to games actually belong to players.  I saw a couple of Lexus’, an Audi A4, a BMW and that sort of gave me hope that at least some of the players are rolling nice.  The discouraging part though is that most of those cars were not paid for by basketball as most of the guys (like me) have other jobs on the side and ball is almost a hobby.  Basketball is supposed to be a job, we are supposed to sustain ourselves and grow families within the game.

Maybe 1 day the game will graduate me from just writing articles to actually playing a more prominent role.  Lord knows that all this literature is for a reason, I would like my daughter to be fed and dressed by basketball.  I have a lady who might be leaving me soon; it would be nice if basketball could afford me and her a holiday.  Until then, I will continue with my Scoop Jackson dreams and just put pen to paper.  I will continue to dream that next time I’m introduced at celebrity games, Lee will actually know who I am.  I will dream that I get more screams than Sizwe Dlomo because I eat, sleep and love this game.

And Cabby, next time you shout me out at games, please call me Juice

Until next time, enjoy your weekend.

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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Kweku says:

    That ish rite there ninja? That ish rite there ninja? That ish rite there ninja?(pimp chronicles – Kurt Williams) AMEN gosh darn!!

    Engen is now sponsoring soccer tourney’s!! What the hell??
    ie. Loxion Kulcha, Sprite, Love lIfe, AND1 and the likes where them people at?

    Lovely article..

  2. Lady says:

    Yeah very nice. You are right juice it would be nice. But who is doin what about ala dis

  3. Yani says:

    I agree…basketball’s a great game and has the potential to instill great values in today’s upcoming youth, who seek such opportunities. It’s a pity the powers that be aren’t doing much about it.