Home » Actor Forest Whitaker joins Nigerian tycoon Tunde Folawiyo, others as investor in NBA Africa

Actor Forest Whitaker joins Nigerian tycoon Tunde Folawiyo, others as investor in NBA Africa

by Omokolade Ajayi
Tunde Folawiyo

Award-winning U.S. actor Forest Whitaker has joined a long list of strategic investors in NBA Africa, which has an implied valuation of $1 billion.

According to an official press statement issued by the NBA, Whitaker and Zambian-born economist Dambisa Moyo are the latest strategic investor in the Africa unit of the global sports behemoth.

The NBA said their addition will add value to its existing investor group and help the new entity further positively impact economies and the younger generations in Africa.

Strategic investors in NBA Africa include a consortium led by Babatunde Folawiyo, the chairman and CEO of Yinka Folawiyo Group, and Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation, led by Co-CEO Tope Lawani. Other investors include former NBA players Junior Bridgeman, Luol Deng (from South Sudan), Grant Hill, Ian Mahinmi (from France with ties to Benin), Dikembe Mutombo (from Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Joakim Noah (who has ties to Cameroon).

Whitaker said in a statement: “I’m thrilled to become a strategic investor in NBA Africa as it plans to grow basketball’s presence across the continent. I deeply believe in the league’s commitment to youth empowerment and am so excited to work alongside the NBA Africa family.”

“The game of basketball is incredibly inspirational, and my decade working in Africa has shown me how sports can be a transformative method of helping to foster peace, as well as an economic engine for socio-economic development in areas of conflict,” he added.

Whitaker and Moyo join the organization nearly seven months after the NBA announced the formation of NBA Africa in a deal worth $1 billion.

NBA Africa conducts the NBA’s business in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League, which features the top 12 club teams from 12 African countries and will tip off its second season in March 2022.

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