The inaugural season of the Basketball Africa League kicked off Sunday to a rousing start in Kigali, heralding a new era of sports in the continent. It could revolutionise sports in the continent, eclipsing football which has long been the mainstay of sports popularity in the continent. The basketball league is a business proposition. It endorses the potential for sports investment in Africa, borrowing a leaf from the US National Basketball Association (NBA) league. The league’s investment strategy to make a profit and grow the game in terms of talent, infrastructure and brand leverage could demonstrate how other sports in the continent could thrive. The growth and business model is to be expected, as the BAL is a partnership between the NBA and International Basketball Federation (FIBA). With such a heft behind the new league, it potentially could change the dynamics and culture of sport in the continent. BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall promises as much: Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africas vibrant sporting culture, he says. The BAL has made history, being the NBAs first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America. It is therefore no surprise the inaugural season has attracted some of the best in the movie business to document it. BAL has partnered with the entertainment organisation Fremantle and award-winning producers to produce an original documentary series telling the story of the launch. The documentary series will follow the stories of the players, coaches and teams as they prepare for and compete, and particularly spotlight the momentum and ambition behind the league to change the landscape of sports on the continent. Its star power and potential to influence change has not failed notice of development actors. Thus BAL has also partnered with France’s international development organisation, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), to use the game to advocate for social development across the continent. The partnership aims to advance access to education, wellness and inclusion of girls and women, as well as the youth, in all aspects of society as set out in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is in addition to BAL’s initiatives to advance gender equality and economic inclusion across Africa. The league was initially expected to debut in March 2020 in Dakar, Senegal, but was ultimately postponed due to the worldwide pandemic caused by the coronavirus. The pandemic is therefore the only damper as the games will be played in a bubble. Despite fans being allowed in the iconic Kigali Arena, the BAL will be played under robust health and safety protocols to ensure the safety of players and teams personnel as per the World Health Organization guidelines. But there will be much to look forward to. The 14-day tournament which kicked off on May 16 will feature 26 games played in two parts. The ongoing phase involves the 12 clubs playing each other in three groups of four teams each. After the 18-game group phase, the top eight teams will advance to the playoffs, which will be single elimination. The phase will be the real thriller, with the eliminations leading to the quarters and semis before what is expected to be a gripping final. BAL’s greatest legacy is not only in its aim overall to uplift the game in the continent, but in the emphasis it makes that Africa is ready for investment in global sports. May the best team win.