Victor Williams. Photo: Standard Bank
  • America's National Basketball Association has appointed Victor Williams as its new Africa CEO
  • Based in Johannesburg, the ex-Standard Bank exec is tasked with growing the sport on the continent.
  • The NBA has had an office in South Africa since 2010, and last year formed a new Africa regional league in collaboration with the International Basketball Federation.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

America’s National Basketball Association (NBA) has just appointed a top investment banker to lead its expansion efforts on the African continent.

Victor Williams will be its new Africa CEO, and will start on August 17. He is currently head of corporate and investment banking for African markets (excluding South Africa) at Standard Bank.

“In this newly-created role, Williams will oversee the league’s basketball and business development initiatives in Africa,” said the NBA, with the goal of  “[growing] the popularity of basketball and the NBA across the continent through grassroots development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and more.”

Williams, who holds citizenships from both the US and Sierra Leone, previously worked at Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo Securities before joining Standard Bank. He says that the new position will “allow me to blend my professional experience building businesses in Africa with my passion for the sport of basketball,” he said.

The NBA has had an office in South Africa since 2010, and last year formed a new Africa regional league in collaboration with the International Basketball Federation.

Qualifying rounds were held in October, but the inaugural season, which was due to start in March, was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2017, the NBA opened a new basketball training facility, the NBA Academy Africa, in Senegal. It's one of six academic across the world.

The US basketball league is hugely popular outside its home country, most notably in China. According to CNBC, more than 640 million people in China watched the 2017-2018 NBA season.

(Compiled by Edward-John Bottomley)

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