Despite the current uneasiness in Nigeria that was largely due to the fatal aftermath of the #ENDSARS protests against police brutality, there is at least something to smile about as eight athletes flew high the flag of the nation after they were drafted to the NBA on Wednesday.
Speaking to CBS News, Basketball Africa League (BAL) president Amadou Gallo Fall touched on how such an incredible milestone couldn’t have come at a better time considering what’s currently happening in the West African nation.
“In this incredible, challenging time with the pandemic and recent event that happened in Nigeria, this is a great story,” he said. “Young people really being at center stage, providing inspiration to this next generation… just to show that it’s possible.”
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Nigerian-American and Indiana Pacers superstar Victor Oladipo also shared his excitement about his compatriots being drafted and reflected on the influence athletes with Nigerian heritage have had across all walks of sports in the United States.
“Nigerian American athletes in general, not only in the game of basketball but in sports all over the country, all over the U.S., are continuing to prosper,” Oladipo said during an NBA virtual conference. “We had quite a few in the draft yesterday, there’s quite a few doing their thing for the continent of Africa and obviously Nigeria as well.”
“I’m honored and blessed just to be one of those athletes that are continuing to represent our country to the fullest,” he said.
The new recruits join the likes of fellow compatriots including reigning MVP and Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, Orlando Magic star Al-Farouq Aminu, Miami Heat stars Andre Iguodala and Bam Adebayo, as well as a host of many others.
Join Face2Face Africa as we highlight the eight Nigerians who were picked up on draft night: