Egypt’s Zamalek wins inaugural Basketball Africa League Championship

2021 BAL Champion Zamalek (Egypt) - (Credit: BAL/Getty Images)
2021 BAL Champion Zamalek (Egypt) – (Credit: BAL/Getty Images)

Egypt’s Zamalek Sporting Club on Monday defeated Tunisia’s US Monastir 76-63 to win the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) Championship, which took place at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda.

BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall presented Zamalek with the BAL Championship Trophy during the event which was broadcast to fans in 215 countries and territories in 15 languages.

Following the game, the BAL announced the first recipients of the league’s end-of-season awards, which honor pioneering African NBA Legends Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Manute Bol (South Sudan).

Award winners were selected by a panel of sportswriters, broadcasters and NBA team scouts in attendance, with nominees receiving three points for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote. The 12 BAL Head Coaches voted for the Manute Bol BAL Sportsmanship Award.

Walter Hodge (Zamalek) was named the Hakeem Olajuwon BAL Most Valuable Player after leading his team to an undefeated 6-0 record with per game averages of 15.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds.

Anas Osama Mahmoud (Zamalek) was named the Dikembe Mutombo BAL Defensive Player of the Year after recording per game averages of 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.

Makrem Ben Romdhane (US Monastir) received the Manute Bol BAL Sportsmanship Award for exemplifying the ideals of sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Additional awards will be announced tomorrow on the BAL’s social media channels, including the BAL All-First Team, 2021 BAL Scoring Champion and Ubuntu Award, which is awarded to an individual or organization that has made an impact on the local community during the first BAL season.

Olajuwon became the first player from Africa to be drafted into the NBA when he was selected first overall in the 1984 Draft by the Houston Rockets. The two-time NBA champion and Hall of Fame inductee was also named league MVP in 1993-94 when he led the Rockets to the franchise’s first NBA title.