NBA icon LeBron James touched down in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city, as a guest of the Ministry of Sports.
The four-time NBA champion was in attendance at the AZM Academy to witness a friendly basketball game featuring the Saudi prospects.
Saudi Arabia, while not traditionally known for its basketball prowess, currently ranks 68th in FIBA’s global rankings.
The national team comprises players who compete within the country. The nation’s most significant basketball achievement to date is a bronze medal in the FIBA Asia Cup in 1999, with a recent 14th-place finish in the same tournament.
The country recently invested heavily in football. The Saudi Pro League garnered global attention. Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to the league marked the beginning of an “Asian football revolution,” with Neymar, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kanté, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, and Jordan Henderson among the high-profile transfers from Europe.
James’ visit to Saudi Arabia, amidst the nation’s football frenzy, underscores the Saudi Arabian Basketball Federation’s unwavering commitment to promoting and developing the sport within the country. It signifies a significant step towards nurturing basketball’s growth in a football-centric nation.