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Exploring the Nigerian connections at the 2021 NBA Draft – Pulse Nigeria

  • November 28, 2021
  • 3 min read
Exploring the Nigerian connections at the 2021 NBA Draft – Pulse Nigeria

Authors:
Three Nigerians were drafted into the NBA on Thursday.
Young basketball talents got to see the realisation of a long-term dream when they got drafted into the NBA on Thursday, July 29, 2021.
The 2021 NBA Draft which was held at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York, had about 60 players selected by NBA teams.
With the widespread of the game and the long term effect of immigration, there was no way Nigeria would not be represented in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Three players of Nigerian descent was drafted on Thursday night in New York.
Born to Nigerian parents in Spain, Usman Garuba grew up there and is already considered one of the best young defenders in Europe.
The 19-year-old, like almost every Nigerian youth, grew up playing football before he switched to basketball because of his exceptional height.
He joined the Real Madrid youth team in 2003 and came up through the ranks at the club.
After exceptional performances with the youth teams and Real Madrid B, he debuted for the senior side in October 2018.
Born and raised in Spain, Garuba has little connection to his parents’ country Nigeria.
He plays for Spain and has been with them since the Under 16s. He helped Spain capture gold medals at the U16 European championship in 2016 and the U18 championship in 2019.
He also captured the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament in 2019.
He is currently with the Spanish national team at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ayo Dosunmu was born to Nigerian immigrants in the United States. He was born and raised in Chicago, where he played high school basketball.
He remained in Chicago for his college career, where he excelled and then got into the 2021 NBA Draft.
The youngest of four children, Dosunmu now plays for the United States. Although he acknowledges the country of his parents, he is always proud to represent America.
“My father and grandparents were born in Nigeria. They came to America for a better life. To be able to represent my country- is an honor and a privilege,” he said on Twitter after he was invited to the USA U-18 squad for the 2018 FIBA U18 Americas Championship.
Unlike the first two names on this list, Charles Bassey was born in Nigeria and got drafted as a Nigerian.
Born in Lagos, Bassey, like almost every kid growing up in Nigeria, first fell in love with football. He played football until he was 12 before he was convinced by a coach who met him while he was hawking fried chicken.
Two years after he started playing basketball, he entered a basketball camp called Giants of Africa set up by a former Nigerian coach and current President of the 2019 NBA Champions Toronto Raptors Masai Ujiri.
He won MVP of the camp and soon moved to the United States to continue his basketball career with a private school in Texas.
He went on to play college basketball for Western Kentucky for three years before he was drafted.
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