NBA announces postponement of inaugural season of Basketball Africa League due to coronavirus concerns

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the creation of the Basketball Africa League in 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

The NBA announced on Tuesday that the inaugural season of the Basketball Africa League will be postponed due to coronavirus concerns.

The 12-team league that’s operated as a partnership with basketball’s international governing body FIBA was scheduled to tip on March 13 in Dakar, Senegal. The BAL is the NBA’s first collaborative league outside of North America.

BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall announced that the decision was made under advisement of the Senegalese government.

“Following the recommendation of the Senegalese government regarding the escalating health concerns related to the coronavirus, the BAL’s inaugural season will be postponed,” Fall wrote. “I am disappointed we are not able to tip off this historic league as scheduled but look forward to the highly-anticipated launch of the BAL at a later date.”

The news comes a day after the NBA reportedly sent a memo to teams encouraging players to limit physical contact with fans like high-fives and autograph requests in an effort to reduce exposure to the virus responsible for COVID-19.

Coronavirus present in Senegal

Senegal officials announced on Tuesday that a second person who traveled to the country from France had been confirmed with the coronavirus. While the virus has spread across the globe, it was just the third confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Reuters.

As of Tuesday, the coronavirus had spread to 70 countries with 90,000 confirmed cases and 3,100 deaths, according to the Associated Press.

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