The National Basketball Association announced on Monday that it has formed NBA Africa, which will oversee all league business on the continent, including the Basketball Africa League (BAL).
At least five former NBA players - Junior Bridgeman, Grant Hill, Joakim Noah, Congo native Dikembe Mutombo and South Sudan native Luol Deng - are investors in the venture.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum will be on the board of directors.
Silver said the current enterprise value of NBA Africa is worth "nearly $1 billion," though amounts of the league and individual investments were not disclosed.
The league said some of its primary areas of focus with the venture are to grow the BAL and to launch additional NBA academies in Africa, like they have done in Senegal.
``The growth and development is something we're all enormously proud of,'' Silver said.
There are at least 55 players currently in the NBA who were either born in Africa or have a parent from there.
The NBA has played three summer exhibitions in Africa in recent years and there are hopes for more, but there are no firm plans yet to bring preseason or regular season games to the continent.