The Basketball Africa League (BAL) is jumping through hoops for its inaugural venture: an original docuseries telling the tale of its launch and opening season.
Co-produced by Fremantle (also acting as distributor), HBO True Detective producer Richard Brown through his production company Passenger, and sports marketing company Infront, the untitled series will tell the story of the league, its players, coaches and behind-the-scenes administrators.
The project is a partnership between the NBA and The International Basketball Federation (FIBA). BAL, which includes 12 teams from across Africa, is the NBA’s first attempt to operate a league outside North America.
Tebogo Malope (pictured), a South African director who helmed Netflix’s first African original series Queen Sono and developed the acclaimed Hulu/Sky Italia/Channel 4 series Catch-22 starring George Clooney, is directing and developing the BAL series with executive producers Brown, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens (Tiger King) and Nigerian director/producer Akin Omotoso, currently directing The Greek Freak for Disney+, the feature film autobiography of NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Anthony Scheinman and Christian Vesper also serve as executive producers for Infront and Fremantle, respectively.
The BAL kicks off its two-week season on May 16 in Kigali, Rwanda, with the BAL finals scheduled for May 30.
The dozen participating teams include the Algeria GSP; the Angola Petro de Luanda; the Cameroon FAP; the Egypt Zamalek; the Madagascar GNBC; the Mali AS Police; the Morocco AS Salé; the Mozambique Ferroviàrio de Maputo; the Nigeria Rivers Hoopers; The Rwanda Patriots BBC; the Senegal AS Douanes and the Tunisia US Monastir.
BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall remarked via a statement about the historical significance of the event and subsequent documentary.
“We are honored to partner with such illustrious producers and visionary filmmakers to tell the story of the Basketball Africa League’s inaugural season,” he said. “The BAL will have a transformational impact on basketball and sports as a whole in Africa, and this project will capture this historic moment in time for generations to come.”
Added director Malope: “I’m beyond excited about this project because it places African storytellers at the helm of their own story. To be directing this series with esteemed producers Richard Brown, Fisher Stevens and the BAL encapsulates the very best of what it means to be global, and is a dream come true for me.”
The parties will work together on worldwide distribution plans.