Like other African countries, Nigeria has a number of players in the NBA. While some moved from the country to the US to start their career, others were born overseas. Even at that, we've never had more than one player of Nigerian descent in an NBA All-Star Game. That will change in February when Victor Oladipo and Giannis Antetokounmpo play in the exhibition game.
Oladipo plays for Indiana Pacers. With a professional career spanning five years in the NBA, his numbers with the Pacers have been incredible in terms of rebounds, assists and steals. He comfortably led his team to perform beyond expectations in the league, despite missing five games this year.
Aside from a basketball career that’s steadily on the rise, the 25-year-old is also balling in music. He recently dropped the video for “One Day”, an r&b track off his EP, Songs For You.
Antetokounmpo, on the other hand, was born in Greece to Nigerian parents. He started playing basketball in 2007. Seven years later, his NBA career kicked off with the Milwaukee Bucks. His first All-Star selection was last year in which he displayed the remarkable athleticism he has come to be known for.
Last season, combining that athleticism with his intimidating height, he became the first player in NBA history to finish in the top 20 in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. This got him the Most Improved Player award. So if you’re wondering why the 23-year-old had more numbers than LeBron James in the early votes for this year’s All-Star selection, there’s your answer.
Given his breakout, Lil Wayne recently gave him a shout-out in his song “Big Bad Wolf”, where he raps: “I got a Greek freak, she call me Antetokounmpo”. So you can say like Oladipo, Antetokounmpo also has a connection with music.