JOHANNESBURG (NBA) - The first-ever NBA game to be played in Africa next month is going to be loaded with star power.
The contest, which pits a Team Africa against a Team World, is to be held at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 1 August.
The star-studded game will take place following the conclusion of the 13th edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa at the American International School of Johannesburg from 29 July-1 August.
The captain will be two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng of the Miami Heat.
Deng, who was born in South Sudan but moved to the United Kingdom during his boyhood years and represented Great Britain at the last Olympics, is thrilled to be taking part in the contest.
I am extremely proud to be a part of the NBA's first game in Africa. - Deng
"Coming from South Sudan and having participated in the Basketball without Borders Africa camps in Johannesburg previously, I am truly honored to be part of this historic event," Deng said.
He will be joined some of the most exciting and accomplished players in international basketball and the NBA.
Other members of Team Africa include Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers; U.S.; parents from Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; parents from Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets; France; parent from Cameroon), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors; Democratic Republic of the Congo), Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs; France; parent from Senegal), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal), Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors; Nigeria), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo) and Luc Mbah a Moute (most recently with the Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon).
Ibaka, however, will not play because of an injury.
Aminu (Nigeria), Batum, Diaw (both France) and Ibaka (Spain) played at the London Games while Antetokounmpo (Greece), Batum, Diaw, Gorgui Dieng (Senegal) and Ibaka featured at last year's FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Team World will have plenty of famous basketball players as well, including a pair of NBA All-Star brothers in in Spain internationals Pau (Chicago Bulls) and Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies).
The two have set up the Gasol Foundation, which has a stated mission of helping young people to live healthier lives.
"When I heard about the NBA Africa Game I jumped at the chance to participate," Pau Gasol said.
"The continent of Africa has a special meaning for me through my foundation.
"I look forward to putting on a great show for the fans and taking part in activities in the local community."
Like the Gasols, Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets) played at last year's World Cup and helped the USA reach the top of the podium.
Faried and Pau Gasol were named to the tournament's All-Star Five.
Others in the Team World lineup will be the USA's two-time Olympic champion Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies; U.S.), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; U.S.) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic; Montenegro).
Five-time NBA champion Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs will coach Team Africa, with 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams serving as assistant coaches.
Williams was an assistant coach for the USA's World Cup winning team last year.
Brooklyn Nets boss Lionel Hollins will coach Team World with Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens serving as an assistant.
The game is a treat for the fans, but also for the players.
"With deep rooted ties to Senegal, I am honored to be representing Team Africa in what is truly a historic occasion," said Diaw, who will later this summer play for France at EuroBasket 2015.
"I look forward to representing Team World in the first NBA game in Africa," Paul said.
"It will be my first visit to the continent, and I cannot wait to contribute to the growth of the game on and off the court."
These players and coaches will be joined by NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), as well as WNBA Legends Ebony Hoffman (U.S.), Clarisse Machanguana (Mozambique) and Ruth Riley (U.S.).
Distinguished guests on hand to witness this historic game will include NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, FIBA President Horacio Muratore, FIBA Africa President Niang Hamane, FIBA Africa Executive Director Alphonse Bile and Patrick Hunt, the President of the World Association of Basketball Coaches (WABC).