NBA Africa, the continental subsidiary of the US-based top-tier basketball league, has brought in Gbemisola Abudu as its vice president and country head of Nigeria, where the league will open an office in early 2022.

Abudu will lead the new office and will report to NBA Africa chief executive Victor Williams. 

She will be responsible for “leading the league’s basketball and business development in Nigeria, including grassroots programming, elite player development, relationships with current and prospective marketing, media and merchandise partners, and social responsibility efforts”, the league said today.

The new Nigerian head brings with her 17 years of experience developing businesses and brands in the Middle East and the US as well as in the West African country and has worked in the past for global brands including Louis Vuitton, Walt Disney, and Clorox.

She joins NBA Africa from a position as managing partner and founder at BMGA Enterprise, an educational technology finishing school in the Nigerian capital of Lagos.

Abudu said: “Joining NBA Africa and opening the league’s office here is the opportunity of a lifetime and the culmination of all my experiences to date. As a lifelong basketball fan and Nigeria native, I look forward to working with the NBA Africa team to help build a more comprehensive basketball ecosystem in the country.”

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Williams added: “We are excited about expanding NBA Africa’s operations in Nigeria with the launch of our office in Lagos and thrilled to have Gbemisola join us to lead our efforts in the country … Her expertise will be invaluable in helping us continue to grow basketball and the NBA in a country that already has a strong affinity for the game.”

Since opening its first office in Africa in 2010, in Johannesburg, South Africa, the NBA has focused its efforts on the continent into “increasing access to basketball and the NBA through grassroots and elite development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, NBA Africa Games”, as well as through the launch of the Basketball Africa League (BAL).

The BAL, a partnership between the NBA and FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, will begin its second season in Dakar, Senegal in March 2022.

In July this year, former US President Barack Obama joined NBA Africa as a strategic partner.