2011 | FIBA Africa Basketball Clubs Champions Cup final, Étoile Sportive du Sahel from Tunisia win 82-60 against Primeiro de Agosto from Angola. Image via Canva

Sports fans: How well do you know South African basketball?

Even though it is not one of the big three in South Africa, the sport of basketball goes back a long way in this country.


2011 | FIBA Africa Basketball Clubs Champions Cup final, Étoile Sportive du Sahel from Tunisia win 82-60 against Primeiro de Agosto from Angola. Image via Canva

It is exactly three months since the National Basketball Association (NBA) decided to suspend its season.

Now, NBA is set up for a return with a 113-page battle plan document. According to ESPN the NBA’s board of governors has approved the league’s plan for 22-team return in Florida. The plan reveals workouts begin later this month, and games start in July.

However, if you are a basketball fan in South Africa, you will know that the sport goes back a long way in this country as well.

Basketball may be not one of the popular sporting-codes in South Africa. The  big three most-watched sports are probably soccer, rugby and cricket, but it’s still got a history in this country.

Brief history of South Africa basketball

Basketball South Africa (BSA) is the governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in South Africa. BSA, formerly the Basketball Federation of South Africa (BFSA), was founded in 1953.

The sport’s world governing body, the International Amateur Basketball Federation (FIBA) expelled BSA from  international tournaments in 1980, in protest against the apartheid policies of the South African Government.

FIBA admitted BSA in 1992, when it became the youngest member of the federation.

Image via Canva

While basketball may be under the radar in South Africa, here are a few facts about the sport in this country:

Did you know Steve Nash was born in South Africa?

Steve Nash, a former Canadian professional basketball player, played 18 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). In the process he was an eight-time NBA all-star and seven-time All-NBA selection. Nash also won the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) award twice.

Nash,was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to a Welsh mother and an English father on 7 February 1974. He holds British as well as Canadian citizenship.

Thabo Patrick Sefolosha

Thabo Sefolosha, currently with the Houston Rockets of the NBA, also played for top basketball teams like the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Atlanta Hawks.

Sefolosha was born in Switzerland, but his mother is a South African musician, Christine Sefolosha. She who now lives in Europe.

Masego “Lucky” Loate

South African Masego Loate, a point guard, is a professional basketball player for the North West Eagles in the Basketball National League. Here in South Africa, Masego represented South Africa’s basketball team at the 2011 FIBA Africa Championship in Antananarivo, Madagascar. He was his team’s best three-point shooter.

Basketball National League

The BNL is the name of the men’s professional basketball league in South Africa. It was founded in 1993, later dissolving before reforming.  In 2013 it was renamed the Basketball National League.

The league has 10 clubs currently, namely:

  • Eastern Cape Windbreakers
  • Egoli Magic
  • Kwa-Zulu Marlins
  • Limpopo Pride
  • Mpumalanga Rhinos
  • Northern Cape Zebras
  • North West Eagles
  • Soweto Panthers
  • Tshwane Suns
  • Western Cape Mountaineers

The Soweto Panthers are current champions.