NBA Draft 2020 saw no fewer than eight Nigerians selected by NBA clubs ahead of the new basketball season, with the new season kick-starting next month.
It was indeed a historic moment for the West African country as players of their heritage will campaign elite competition next term.
The draws which were staged on Thursday saw Isaac Okoro, born in the US to Nigerian parents become the highest-drafted player after Michael Olowokandi since 1998.
Okoro, 19, is a small forward from Auburn and was drafted number five overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Onyeka Okongwu came in as number six draft by the Atlanta Hawks, and that sparked emotions as the 20-year-old paid tribute to his older brother, Nnamdi, who died through a skateboarding accident in 2014.
Born in Nigeria but moved to the US during his teenage age, Precious Achiuwa was a number 20 pick for the Miami Heat.
Meanwhile, Miami Heat head of basketball operations Pat Riley expressed delight at their pick saying:
“We are very excited to have him. We think he fits in perfectly. I’m excited that at 20 we were able to find a player who is that good and who has that kind of quality.”
The 21-year-old will team up with countryman Gabe Vincent as well as Bam Adebayo, Andre Iguodala and Kezie Okpala who are of the Nigerian heritage.
List of basketball stars of Nigerian heritage drafted into the NBA by clubs ahead of next campaign
- Jordan Nwora
- Udoka Azubuike
- Issac Okoro
- Desmond Bane
- Onyeka Okongwu
- Precious Achiuwa
- Zeke Nnaji
- Daniel Oturu
Zeke Nnaji comes in as pick number 22 for Denver Nuggets while Utah Jazz drafted Udoka Azubuike at number 27.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Yomi Sangodeyi, a Nigerian basketball star, has passed on at the age of 57 after losing a long battle to illness.
Reports claim the former D'Tigers star succumbed to lung cancer and the deadly coronavirus disease.
He was the first Nigerian Sportsman of the Year played and represented the country in several national competitions in the late 1970s and 1980s.
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