NBA Africa on Tuesday named Gbemisola Abudu as Vice President and Country Head of Nigeria, where the league will open its third office on the continent in early 2022. Abudu, an accomplished entrepreneur, business leader, luxury marketing expert and social activist with 17 years of experience developing businesses, brands and human capital in Nigeria, the Middle East and the U.S., will lead NBA Africa’s new office in Lagos and report to NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams.
In this newly-created role, Abudu will be responsible for leading the league’s basketball and business development initiatives in Nigeria, including grassroots programming for youth, elite player development, relationships with current and prospective marketing, media and merchandise partners, and social responsibility efforts that improve the lives of youth and families in Nigeria.
Gbemi is the woman to head NBA’s Operations outside of North America,
“We are excited about expanding NBA Africa’s operations in Nigeria with the launch of our office in Lagos and thrilled to have Gbemisola join us to lead our efforts in the country,” said Williams. “As an established business leader, entrepreneur, global marketing expert and social activist, Gbemisola’s expertise will be invaluable in helping us continue to grow basketball and the NBA in a country that already has a strong affinity for the game.”
“Joining NBA Africa as the Vice President & Country Head of Nigeria and opening the league’s office here is the opportunity of a lifetime and the culmination of all my experiences to date,” said Abudu. “As a lifelong basketball fan and Nigeria native, I look forward to working with the NBA Africa team to help build a more comprehensive basketball ecosystem in the country and to using the transformative power of sport to impact lives in Nigeria and beyond.”
Abudu previously served as Founder and Managing Partner at BMGA Enterprise Limited (BMGA), an educational technology finishing school in Lagos that provides social and marketing intelligence to increase the productivity of people and organizations. In that role, she invested in the sustainable development of human capital and advanced gender equality in Africa by developing social impact initiatives, establishing new learning and leadership platforms, and growing partnerships with world renowned universities. Prior to BMGA, she worked as a global marketing professional for international brands, including Louis Vuitton, The Walt Disney Company and The Clorox Company.
Abudu, a dual citizen of Nigeria and the U.S., holds an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona where she is President of the Thunderbird Alumni Association’s Nigeria Chapter. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and public relations from the University of Wyoming.
The NBA opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010. Since then, the league’s efforts in Africa have focused on increasing access to basketball and the NBA through grassroots and elite development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, NBA Africa Games, the launch of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), and more. The BAL, a partnership between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, will tip off its second season in March 2022.