- "Basketball is one of the most popular team sports among Kenyan youth."
- Five-time NBA champion Ron Harper and Basketball Africa League President Amadou Gallo also graced the ceremony.
The United States National Basketball Association (NBA) has officially launched its first Kenyan chapter in Westlands, Nairobi.
Michael Finley, NBA Kenya's senior director and national operations lead said that the new office will support all of the league's business and basketball development endeavors in the country.
Finley made the remarks during the unveiling at State House Nairobi on Wednesday where President William Ruto received a high-profile NBA delegation.
US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba also graced the occasion.
Finley claimed to have witnessed the enthusiasm for basketball firsthand having spent many years participating in the Kenyan basketball community.
"I'm thrilled to be in charge of the new office and am looking forward to expanding our presence in the area and having a positive impact on communities across the country by providing new opportunities for fans to engage with the NBA and for young people to play the game," Finley remarked.
NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams said the development attests to the interest the sport has generated in Kenya.
"The opening of our Nairobi office is a reflection of the NBA and basketball's enormous potential in Kenya and throughout East Africa," Williams said.
"We will be able to work more closely with local stakeholders to further grow the game here and make it more accessible to players and fans across the country. Basketball is one of the most popular team sports among Kenyan youth," he continued.
Five-time NBA champion Ron Harper and Basketball Africa League President Amadou Gallo also graced the ceremony.
Harper won three straight championships with the Chicago Bulls between 1996 and 1998 as well as back-to-back titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000 and 2001.
Harper expressed his admiration for the league's efforts to develop basketball in Kenya and throughout the continent.
"I'm honored to be part of this historic announcement. It has been truly unique for me to interact with the young people here and impart my knowledge to them," Harper stated.
"Without a doubt, the league's efforts have given basketball in Kenya a very bright future," he added.
The NBA declared its intention to launch community-based initiatives aimed at developing the nation's talent.
To create a complete basketball ecosystem, the NBA will collaborate with the Ministry of Sports, the Ministry of Education, and the Kenya Basketball Federation.
In keeping with this endeavor, a Junior NBA clinic is scheduled to involve seventy boys and girls in honor of the opening of the NBA's fifth African office in Nairobi.
This is consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding that the NBA and the Ministry of Sports signed in September in New York in front of President William Ruto.
President Ruto called the project a "watershed" in the history of the sport in the nation, saying the decision will allow young Kenyans to pursue careers in basketball.
“Professional basketball promises to enhance talent commercialization and transform the lives of our youth,” Ruto stated.
Egypt, Senegal, South Africa, and Nigeria are the only other African countries hosting NBA offices.