Twelve years ago, the story was a double tragedy for Nigeria’s male basketball team, D’Tigers as they lost twice against the American basketball team, the Dream Team.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Nigeria lost woefully to a star-studded U.S. male basketball team, 156-73, in what was the Olympic’s heaviest win by any team, and the worst loss for any team also. A dozen years since then, and a delay in the Olympics, the biggest upset of all-time in international basketball was served on the plate for the American team, unarguably the best team in the world as Nigeria won 90-87.
The Nigerians, managed by the assistant coach of NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Mike Brown, went into the game with some of its players exposed to the requirements and level of the NBA. Josh Okogie, and Miami Heats Draft, Precious Achiuwa impressed on the night while Gabe Vincent, also of the Heats recorded a team high point tally of 21, having hit 6 3-pointers.
The American team wasn’t short of its own brilliant players in Las Vegas as the likes of Kevin Durant, Jason Tatum, Damian Lilliard, and American of Nigerian descent, Bam Adebayo of Miami Heats all featured in the game.
The loss wasn’t just the U.S.’ first to an African team, it was just its third in exhibition games since 1992, as the record now stands 54-3.
Of Nigeria’s 42 triple attempts, 21 made the basket with the highlight of the game happening when Achiuwa made a great block to stop Durant from hitting the basket.
Nigeria will face Germany, Italy and Australia at the Olympics with probably its best collection of players and a good mixture of top-level experience and youthful vigour.