The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the biggest and most popular league in men’s professional basketball across the world.
For any basketball player, making it into the NBA is the big dream.
In the 2019 NBA Draft, three Nigerians have been selected into the league.
Over the years, Africa has produced remarkable players that have pulled impeccable league upsets through the course of their professional careers, and will forever be remembered for their contribution to the spread of the game around the world.
Players are accepted into the NBA via the draft process. The NBA draft is an annual event that dates back to 1947, in which the teams from the NBA can draft players who are eligible and wish to join the league.
Eligible players are typically college basketball players who have completed their four year college eligibility, or want to give up their remaining college years.
International players who are at least 22 years old are automatically eligible for selection, while players under 22 have to declare their eligibility (Wiki).
Nigerians in the 2019 Draft
Three players of Nigerian descent have made it into the big leagues after being drafted into the NBA franchise as part of the 60 most talented rookies in the USA and around the world.
Overall, nine players of African descent were drafted in the Top 50.
The first Nigerian on the list is power forward, Chuma Okeke, who was drafted 16th overall in the first round pick by the Orlando Magic from Auburn University, Alabama.
The 20-year-old, 6ft 8inch tall player, was born to a Nigerian father in Atlanta, Georgia.
The next Nigerian on the list is small forward, Chikezie Okpala, selected as the 32nd in the second round overall pick by the Phoenix Suns from Stamford University. Okpala was, however, traded to Miami Heats.
The last Nigerian on the list is shooting guard, Olumiye Oni, who was selected by the Golden State Warriors, but was then traded off to Utah Jazz.
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