Two editions ago, we featured a list of NFL athletes with a Nigerian heritage. Your response to that edition was overwhelming. So, we have moved it forward. In May, we are bringing you a list of NBA athletes with a Nigerian heritage chasing the most fabulous prize in basketball – the NBA Championship.
Sixteen of the thirty teams in the NBA make it to the playoffs. We are proud to say that some of these teams have relied on the skills and leadership of athletes with a Nigerian heritage to carry them to the championship trophy. For example, while the Milwaukee Bucks rely on Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Miami Heat rely on the incredible defense of Bam Adebayo.
Besides Antetokounmpo and Adebayo, there are other NBA players with a Nigerian heritage—for example, Andre Tyler Iguodala, who plays for the Golden State Warriors. Besides being a star basketball player, Iguodala is also an “A” student and was also on the national honor roll.
When San Antonio drafted Chimezie Metu in 2018, he said that six years in Nigeria molded him into the man he is. It proves that the Nigerian values of hard work and excellent work ethic continue to shape a new generation of Nigerian Americans.
We ask you to join us as we celebrate these athletes who make us all proud. If you want to know more about any player on this list, email us at email@example.com
Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo: Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, Greece, to Nigerian parents. He started playing basketball for the youth teams of Filathlitikos in Athens. In 2011, Antetokounmpo began playing for the club’s senior team. In 2013, he was drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. In the 2016-17 season, he led the Bucks in all five major statistical categories. Antetokounmpo became the first player in NBA history to finish a regular season in the top 20 in all five statistics to total points, rebounds, steals, assists, and blocks. Antetotounmpo’s Greek home was once described as a “Nigerian home” with no Greek culture. Antetokounmpo received his Nigerian passport in 2015 and therefore holds dual citizenship. Antetokounmpo is two MVP in the NBA.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo: Antetokounmpo was born July 18, 1992. He is the older brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo. He also plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. He began his basketball career playing for the Filathlitikos. In 2021, Thanasis and Giannis won the NBA championship and became the first brothers in history to win the championship together.
Josh Okogie: Okogie is a 6’4 shooting guard for the Phoenix Suns. He was born on September 1, 1998. He entered the NBA, having been drafted by Minnesota Timberwolves in 2018 as number 18 overall. Okogie emigrated from Nigeria to the United States when he was three. He played college basketball for Georgia Tech. Currently, Okogie plays for the Nigerian team in international competitions such as the Olympics and
Chimezie Metu: Metu plays power forward and center for the Sacramento Kings. He was born on March 22, 1997, in Los Angeles. At age six, Metu moved back to Nigeria, where he lived for another six years before returning to the United States. First, he attended Lawndale High School in California and played high school basketball. Then, he attended the University of South Carolina, where he was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in 2018. In 2020, he joined the Sacramento Kings.
Andre Tyler Iguodala: Plays small forward for the Golden State Warriors. His mother is African American, while his father is Nigerian. Iguodala attended high school at Lanphier High School in Springfield, Illinois. He said he looked up to Michael Jordan as his basketball hero. At Lanphier High School, Iguodala won All-Conference academic honors and was on the National Honor Roll. In 2002, Iguodala was named Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year. In the 2004 -2005 draft, the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Iguodala 9th overall. In 2013, he played for the Denver Nuggets, from where he moved to the Golden State Warriors. Iguodala has won three NBA Championships.
Edrice Femi Bam Adebayo: Adebayo plays Center and Power forward for the Miami Heat. He was born to a Nigerian Yoruba father in Newark, New Jersey. As a child, he was nicknamed “Bam Bam” by his mother after a character in the Flintstones. Adebayo, a two-time NBA All-Star, played college basketball for Kentucky Wildcats. In 2017, Adebayo was the 14th overall drafted by Miami Heat. One of his memorable games was helping the Miami Heat achieve a decisive win over the Boston Celtics in the 2020 playoffs. Adebayo posted 32 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and five assists.
Kehinde Babatunde Victor Oladipo: Oladipo plays shooting guard for the Miami Heat. He was born on May 4, 1992, in Silverspring, Maryland. Oladipo was drafted in 2013 by the Orlando Magic as the second overall pick. In 2016, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and then to the Indiana Pacers in 2017. During the 2017 season, Oladipo was names All-Defensive First Team and the All-NBA Third Team. In January 2021, he was traded to the Houston Rockets but was dealt to the Miami Heat two months later. Oladipo is currently chasing the NBA championship title with the Miami Heat.
Nnamdi Isaac Okoro: Okoro was born on January 26, 2001. His father, Godwin, and Gloria Okoro came to the United States in the 80s. Okoro plays small forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He played high school basketball for McEachern High School and college basketball for the Auburn Tigers. In 2020, Okoro was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the fifth pick overall. He is still with the Cleveland Cavaliers, chasing the NBA championship title.
Onyeka Okongwu: Okongwu was born on December 11, 2000. He plays power forward and center for the Atlanta Hawks. Okongwu played high school basketball for Chin Hills High School in California. He played alongside Lonzo and LaMello Ball. Okongwu won two state titles with Chin Hills High School in his junior and senior seasons. The Atlanta Hawks drafted him as the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. He is still with Atlanta Hawks, chasing the NBA championship title.