NBA Africa has launched an inspiring documentary series that showcases the remarkable journeys of five promising NBA prospects. These young athletes share their stories, with insights from their families, friends, and coaches. Through this on-App series, viewers can witness the profound impact of the NBA Africa Academy on the continent. The series aims to motivate and encourage basketball talents to harness the opportunities offered by NBA Africa for their own skill development and success.
NBA Africa’s first original docuseries dubbed ‘Born & Bred’, a five-part documentary telling the stories of five NBA prospects from Africa has premiered on the NBA App.
The series tells the stories of the prospects from Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Sudan, and it features exclusive footage and interviews with the prospects, family members, friends and coaches.
According to Franck Traore, NBA Africa Head of Basketball Operations, the series “will showcase the inspirational stories of prospects from across the continent who have come to NBA Academy Africa to take the next step in their basketball development journeys and lives.”
“Each of these players has a unique story, but they all share one common purpose – to get better every day as athletes, students and leaders. We look forward to showcasing their amazing stories to a global audience through the NBA App and NBA League Pass,” he explains.
The first two episodes, “Basketball Chose Me” and “Dunk at First Sight” feature Nigeria’s Rueben Chinyelu and Angola’s Aginaldo Neto. Other episodes will include Egypt’s Seifeldin Hendawy, South Sudan’s Khaman Maluach, and Senegal’s Khadim Rassoul Mboup.
“The series spotlights each prospect’s basketball journey, including the communities where they were raised and the moments that have shaped them as players and young men,” a statement from NBA Africa explains.
Four of the prospects – Chinyelu, Hendawy, Mboup and Maluach – also competed in the 2023 Basketball Africa League (BAL) season as part of the BAL Elevate program. It provides an opportunity for the next generation of African prospects to participate in a professional league, showcase their talent on a global stage, and help their respective teams compete for the BAL Championship.
“Basketball Chose Me,” and “Dunk at First Sight” will be released first (together) with the former featuring Chinyelu being available freely for download on the NBA App. However, the other four (“Dunk at First Sight” featuring Neto along with the remainder of the series) will be available exclusively via NBA League Pass, the league’s premium live game subscription service. The final three episodes will be available weekly beginning Monday, Nov. 6.
“I never would’ve thought that the game would take me this far,” said Chinyelu. “While I know I’ve got plenty more work to do and many more goals to accomplish, I am grateful to my family, friends, coaches and teammates for taking part in this project, and I hope it provides motivation to other young players to search for their passion and follow their dreams.”
NBA Academy Africa is an elite basketball training center in Saly, Senegal for the top high-school-age prospects from across Africa. Since its launch in 2017, more than 35 male and female participants have committed to NCAA Division I schools in the U.S. or signed professional contracts. NBA Academy Africa is part of a network of NBA Academies, which also includes academies in Australia, India and Mexico.
Here is a breakdown and summaries of the “Born & Bred” episodes:
Episode 1: “Basketball Chose Me” features Reuben Chinyelu, a 19-year-old power forward from Lagos, Nigeria who is entering his freshman season with Washington State University. During his time at NBA Academy Africa, Chinyelu participated in several international showcases and events, including the 2022 NBA Academy Games in Atlanta where he led NBA Academy Africa to a first-place finish. During the 2023 BAL season, he helped lead Stade Malien (Mali) to a third-place finish after averaging the second-most rebounds and blocks on his team. Chinyelu is a natural leader and has interest in art, creative writing and photography.
Episode 2: “Dunk at First Sight” features Aginaldo Neto, a 17-year-old guard from a closely knit community in Luanda, Angola. Neto kicked a ball before he bounced it, but he began playing street basketball after joining a local club in 2016. He would go on to win a championship in his first Jr. NBA tournament in 2018. Four years later he joined NBA Academy Africa and represented the Angola Men’s National Team in the 2022 FIBA U18 African Championship.
Episode 3: “From Generation to Generation” features Seifeldin Hendawy, an 18-year-old forward from Cairo, Egypt. Hendawy’s love for basketball is deeply rooted in his family history, with both of his parents having played the game. Since joining NBA Academy Africa in 2021, Hendawy has represented his country at several international tournaments, including the NBA G League Showcase. He most recently played for Petro de Luanda (Angola) during the 2023 BAL season.
Episode 4: “Discipline Meets Opportunity” features Khadim Rassoul Mboup, a 16-year-old forward from Senegal who joined NBA Academy Africa following the 2021 FIBA Africa Regional Youth Camp in Saly, where he was named the camp MVP. With hopes of following in his brother’s footsteps, the Senegalese forward participated in the 2022 and 2023 NBA Academy Games as well as several tournaments across Africa. He played for Zamalek (Egypt) during the 2022 BAL season.
Episode 5: “Destined for Greatness” features Khaman Maluach, a 17-year-old center who this year became the third-youngest player in history to participate in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, where he helped his native South Sudan clinch its first Olympic berth. Maluach, who only first picked up a basketball at age 13, proves to be a force in the paint and along the perimeter, drawing interest from several NCAA Division I schools in the U.S. Born in South Sudan and raised in Uganda, the 7’2’’ prospect was named MVP of the 2023 Basketball Without Borders Africa camp in Johannesburg. In May, he helped AS Douanes (Senegal) advance to its first BAL Finals.