The basketball world is in absolute celebratory mode as two significant landmarks are set to be achieved. First, the legendary Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, is set to play his last game as a professional basketball player against the Utah Jazz.
2016 will definitely be remembered for many things, and among them is the answer to the question, what year did Kobe Bryant retire? Secondly, the intensely ambitious Golden State Warriors, the defending NBA Champions, are about to eclipse the hallowed 72 games winning record of the fabled Chicago Bulls of the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen-Dennis Rodman era.
If they beat the Memphis Grizzlies tonight, they will own the dizzying record of 73 wins in a grueling 82 game season. One thing is sure to happen, and history will be made tonight! Interestingly, the Golden State Warriors’ story has a weighty Nigerian element. Two Nigerians have played a prominent part in their championship from last season to the fairytale run towards breaking the 72 win record. Andre Iguodala (small forward) and Festus Ezeli (center) are an integral link to the Warriors’ success.
They have brought to the fore the Nigerian tradition of excellence in sports and other endeavors. Though Iguodala has an African-American Mom and has never been to Nigeria, Ezeli was born in Nigeria and only moved to the USA at 15. Iguodala previously played for the USA in the 2010 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics. Ezeli, patriotically, has already committed to playing for Nigeria at the 2016 Olympics in the summer.
When you sit down with your
popcorn chin-chin and drink tonight, saluting Kobe Bryant as he retires after providing 20 years of thrilling basketball or cheering on Stephen Curry, Ezeli and Iguodala to their historic win, remember that sports acknowledges and promotes a fashion of excellence. We’ll touch on that issue and lean towards Nigerian sports stars’ profound effect in future posts.
Meanwhile, I’ll definitely be a biased spectator and root for a Golden State win tonight. After all, as we say at all competitions, Naija no dey carry last!
Article by Itata
Style Rave Sports Analyst
Itata is a Lawyer, Businessman & Sportsman
Photo credit: Getty Images
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