NBA Octagon sportsbiz

Octagon54 to focus on expanding basketball talent in Africa

April 17, 2024

Octagon has launched Octagon54, a first-of-its-kind venture dedicated to cultivating basketball talent of African heritage.

Octagon54 is designed to be a pivotal force in facilitating the transition of African athletes into the NBA, as well as supporting their journeys through high school and college basketball programs.

Octagon54 will be led by Octagon Basketball’s Alex Saratsis and Ron Shade, NBA legend Luol Deng, and Steve Vear, offering a combined wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion for basketball, complemented by an enduring dedication to driving meaningful change in Africa’s basketball landscape.

At the heart of Octagon54’s mission is two-time NBA All-Star, Luol Deng, a trailblazer and key figure in internationalizing the game of basketball in Africa and beyond. Deng’s post-playing career successes have included tours with NBA Africa’s grassroots programs, hosting elite talent camps on four continents, establishing the South Sudan Men’s National Team, and guiding it from unranked status to an Olympic berth.

Deng also serves as a Global Ambassador for the Basketball Africa League, is an NBA Africa investor, and captained Team Africa vs. Team World in the 2015 NBA Africa Game, the first exhibition game by a North American professional sports league on African soil, and a defining moment in African sports history.

“Luol’s involvement with Octagon54 is emblematic of our shared vision for the future of basketball in Africa,” said Saratsis, Co-Managing Director of Octagon Basketball. “As a respected leader both on and off the court, Luol brings invaluable insights and a deep enthusiasm for empowering the next generation of African athletes. We are honored to have him as a key partner in this journey.”

“I’m from the generation inspired by legends like Manute Bol, Dikembe Mutombo and Hakeem Olajuwon, whose legacies paved the way,” said Deng. “The last 20 years of my life have been dedicated to growing the game, developing talent and paying it forward. Octagon54 represents the next chapter of that journey. It is grounded in the belief that whether back home or abroad, the possibilities are endless for African talent with the right resources. It is a full circle moment to now partner with Octagon, the agency that represented me during my NBA career, to create a clear vision for the future of this sport.”

With a dedicated focus on African players, Octagon54 is committed to leveraging its expertise, resources, and network to provide unparalleled opportunities for aspiring basketball players of African heritage. Through strategic programming and impactful partnerships, Octagon54 aims to not only develop elite basketball talent, but also to empower communities and foster positive social change.

Octagon54’s comprehensive approach includes initiatives focused on talent development, mentorship, education, and community engagement. By partnering with local organizations, schools, and basketball federations across Africa, Octagon54 will work to identify, nurture, and showcase emerging talent, creating pathways for success both on and off the court.

“At Octagon54, we are committed to building a legacy that extends beyond basketball,” said Shade, Director of Octagon Basketball. “With Luol and Steve’s knowledge and commitment, we are confident that Octagon54 will not only elevate basketball talent in Africa but also drive positive social impact and inspire future generations of athletes.”

NBA Octagon sportsbiz