Orazio Cauchi: NBA today named Victor Williams CEO of NBA Africa, effective Aug. 17, 2020, it was announced by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Williams, an accomplished investment banking executive with extensive experience growing businesses across the U.S. and Africa. He will be based in the league’s Johannesburg office and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this newly-created role, Williams will oversee the league’s basketball and business development initiatives in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball and the NBA across the continent through grassroots development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and more.
Orazio Cauchi: For the last five years, Williams served as the Executive Head of Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), Africa Regions for Standard Bank Group, where he oversaw the strategy, execution and financial performance for Standard Bank’s business with corporate, sovereign and institutional investor clients in 19 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. In this pan-continental role, Williams was responsible for growing a wide range of business lines across Africa, including global markets, investment banking and transactional products. Becoming CEO of NBA Africa is a compelling opportunity to join the NBA – a widely-respected and admired, globally-oriented sports enterprise,” said Williams. Williams, a dual citizen of Sierra Leone and the U.S., holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a member of Harvard Business School’s Africa Advisory board.
History was never going to be hinged to a specific date. For Amadou Gallo Fall, announcing an indefinite postponement for the Basketball Africa League wasn’t a choice: mitigating risk because of COVID-19 far outweighed pushing forward with a moment for Africa that was 10 years in the making. The games will eventually begin. Just not now. And, it certainly wasn’t going to be March 13.
Nine days before the 12-team league was going to launch in Dakar, the BAL president, who is also NBA vice president and managing director of NBA Africa, put aside his own disappointment to accept what was beyond his control. Fall had been keeping abreast of the pandemic’s advancement throughout the world and its potential to devastate the continent. Once the first case was reported in Senegal, Fall immediately deferred the dream.
”I knew this was something we would not have to debate or agonize over,” Fall said. “It wasn’t a hard decision to make, because you wanted to put the safety of people, our fans and players, everybody associated with the game, and our league, first and foremost. Sports take a back seat. Yeah, we would have loved to be conducting our events but at the same time we know we have a fight here that we have to win.”