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McCollum, Ezeli Will Participate in NBA Africa Game

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The Portland Trail Blazers will have two representatives in South Africa this August for the NBA’s second NBA Africa Game.

Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

CJ McCollum and Festus Ezeli will both be representing the NBA in South Africa this August as part of the league’s second NBA Africa Game. The contest will pit African-born players against counterparts from the rest of the world on Aug. 5 in Johannesburg. McCollum will be joining the World Team, while Ezeli will represent Africa.

Ezeli, who originally hails from Nigeria, will be present regardless of whether or not he fully recovers from the knee injury that has held him out of every game so far this season, he told Marc Spears of the Undefeated. Ezeli cited the importance of basketball in shaping his life as a vital reason for participation in the NBA Africa Game:

“I love that basketball is going all over the world, especially to Africa,” Ezeli told The Undefeated. “For an immigrant from Nigeria, the game of basketball changed my life. It gave me a footprint in the American community. It fuels my passion, it has become my job, but most importantly, it afforded me the luxury of graduating from Vanderbilt University.

“The game has opened many doors for me throughout my life. I want kids to know it’s beyond the actual physical game.”

Bismack Biyombo of the Orlando Magic and Emmanuel Mudiay of the Denver Nuggets will also travel to South Africa for this event, according to Spears.