Fremantle, ‘True Detective’ Producer Richard Brown Team For NBA’s Basketball Africa League Documentary Series

Naman Ramachandran
·3-min read

The nascent Basketball Africa League (BAL), a partnership between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), is set to get its own documentary series.

Fremantle, “True Detective” executive producer Richard Brown and sports marketing company Infront have teamed with the BAL to produce an original documentary series telling the story of its launch and inaugural season.

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The BAL is a new professional league featuring 12 teams from across Africa that starts May 16 in Kigali, Rwanda. It marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.

The series will be directed by South African director Tebogo Malope, who directed Netflix’s first African original series “Queen Sono.” It will follow stories of players, coaches and teams from across Africa, spotlighting the ambition behind the pan-African basketball league and the individuals who have worked to change the landscape of sports on the continent through this initiative. Filming on the series has commenced in several countries.

The series has been developed by Malope alongside executive producers Brown, Oscar-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens (“Tiger King,” “The Cove”) and acclaimed Nigerian director/producer Akin Omotoso, who is currently directing “The Greek Freak” for Disney Plus, a film on the life of NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Anthony Scheinman and Christian Vesper will also serve as executive producers on behalf of Infront and Fremantle respectively.

The series forms part of Fremantle’s exclusive multiyear deal with Brown’s production company, Passenger.

The companies will work together on worldwide distribution plans.

“The BAL will have a transformational impact on basketball and sports as a whole in Africa, and this project will capture this historic moment in time for generations to come,” said BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall.

“I’m beyond excited about this project because it places African storytellers at the helm of their own story,” said Malope. “To be directing this series with esteemed producers Richard Brown, Fisher Stevens and the BAL encapsulates the very best of what it means to be global, and is a dream come true for me.”

“I couldn’t have dreamed up a project more exciting and momentous,” said Brown. “Even in the early days of filming, the myriad stories that have emerged from the cultures and personalities that compose the Basketball Africa League are utterly compelling. Tebogo is a hugely talented upcoming filmmaker with an irresistible vision for how to tell this story.”

The club teams participating in the inaugural BAL season include Algeria’s GSP, Angola’s Petro de Luanda, Cameroon’s FAP, Egypt’s Zamalek, Madagascar’s GNBC, Mali’s AS Police, Morocco’s AS Salé, Mozambique’s Ferroviàrio de Maputo, Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers, Rwanda’s Patriots BBC, Senegal’s AS Douanes and Tunisia’s
US Monastir.

The first BAL Finals will be held May 30.

Brown is currently in production on Fremantle and Sky’s five-episode series “This Sceptred Isle,” directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring Kenneth Branagh as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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