Africa is a continent full of potential and promise. The land in Africa is lush and bountiful, with an abundance of natural resources at every turn. However, poverty racks the developing countries that form Africa. Issues such as hunger, hydration, disease, and a lack of education are all major players in the epidemic of extreme poverty.

Despite the hardships thrust upon the African people, finding ways to get their thoughts away from the problems is also important. Sports provide an escape for these people, in the same way that it does for other people across the globe.

While soccer rules supreme as the top priority sport, basketball comes in a commendable second place. The growth of basketball worldwide, and especially in Africa, can help spark an interest in the sport, and bring wealth from another source to an area desperate for help.

Africa may be more well-known for its soccer talent and prowess, but the basketball interest has improved by leaps and bounds. Africa already has made an impressionable dent on the NBA with stars such as Dikembe Mutombo from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Manute Boi of Sudan, and with more recent figures such as Luio Deng (Sudan) and Serge Ibaka (Congo). All of these players are highly recognizable, and the African people are starting to take notice.

In August, the NBA signed a multi-year deal with South African broadcaster SuperSport to televise NBA games in 47-sub-Saharan territories. This lucrative deal will not only help bring profits into Africa, but hopefully will pique a major interest in the country, therefore leading to even more profits.

The arrival of basketball in Africa can assist the country in several ways. The profits made from the television contract will not only stimulate the interest in basketball, but the game itself will also bring in a sizable profit. Also, basketball is a relatively new commodity in Africa. By taking a big step forward in basketball promotion with the SuperSport deal, NBA in Africa can potentially turn into another talent pipeline.

Based on the success of the aforementioned basketball stars from Africa, the continent has the chance to send even more talent to the NBA. Successful players in the NBA can come back to Africa and help aid the fight against poverty and share the advice they learned elsewhere about their methods to success. Basketball provides a road to success for athletes in America, Canada, and European countries, why not add Africa to the growing list? Africa has all the potential and posterity to be great; it just takes time and effort to have it all recognized.

Zachary Wright

Sources: CNN VideoCNN News ArticleESPN
Photo: Rebound GH