NBA in Africa post ‘encompasses all my passions’
After nearly two decades in the States, Amadou Fall is returning to Africa. The native of Senegal has been charged with opening the NBA’s African office in Johannesburg, South Africa.
New title: Vice president of development, NBA in Africa
Previous title: Director of player personnel and vice president of international affairs, Dallas Mavericks
First job: Sales clerk in African art show during freshman year in college
College education: B.S. in biology, University of the District of Columbia (1993)
Resides: Johannesburg, South Africa
Grew up: Dakar, Senegal
Executive most admired: John Mackey, co-founder and chief executive officer, Whole Foods Market
Brand most admired: United Nations
Favorite vacation spot: Cape Town, South Africa
Last book read: “Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems,” by Michael Strong and John Mackey
Last movie seen: “Invictus”
Favorite movie: “Jerry Maguire”
How did your background prepare you for this new position?
This position encompasses all my passions: Africa, basketball, entrepreneurship, empowerment and youth development. It blends them all into the perfect position.
In volunteering with Basketball Without Borders in Africa, what elements, if any, of the African society need to be enhanced before basketball can be a profitable business?
We need to work to make the game as accessible as it can be where the kids have access to courts. We have to partner with local organizations and companies to make basketball more accessible. We have to build infrastructure and teach the game from a mental standpoint and really organize grassroots programs.
What does the NBA have to understand about the culture of Africa before it can be successful?
The NBA has been going to Africa for nearly two decades now. Starting in 1993, DikembeMutombo ran clinics there. We have a history there with the continent. We have to remain flexible and very patient, also knowing that Africa has a very diverse cultural landscape.
What are some of the grassroots initiatives that are in the works?
We want to build on the initiatives we have had so far, including Basketball Without Borders. We want to create new programs that reach a lot of players and bring in local expertise in the coaching ranks. Also we will assist in creating places to play.
What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
There is so much to do and no shortage of ideas, so I’ve got to discipline myself every day to stay sharply focused on our priorities.
What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
You just need to develop simple life principles such as integrity, patience, resilience and respect.
What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
I am watching the lead-up to the World Cup with it being on African soil for the first time and the impact it will have on the business of sports on the continent.
This career spotlight is courtesy of the SportsBusiness Journal. CLICK HERE to visit their official website.