. As Power Forward season five ends
By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Former Chicago Bulls player, Jerome Williams has tasked Nigeria to explore the possibility of having NBA fixtures played in the country.
Williams made the remarks in Abuja over the weekend during the closing ceremony of the fifth anniversary of Power Forward basketball clinic he co-hosted with Senegal female legend, Astou Ndiaye.
Williams said it would be great to have some NBA fixtures in Nigeria considering the depth of basketball talents in Nigeria and the growing popularity of the game in Africa.
“NBA matches are always possible in Nigeria and I think that is what they need to do. They have done it in Mexico, Europe, China and Asia. Just as they have the Asia NBA games, they should also have the African games. I think it is something they should be able to put in their schedule in the pre-season,” said Williams.
He said basketball had grown in Africa over the years, with the hoop sport rivalling soccer, which remains the continent’s most popular sport.
” Soccer is always there in Africa which has produced some world class players. But i have played with one of the greatest basketball players from Africa- Hakeem Olajuwon. I also played with Dikembe Mutombo in Georgetown and with most guys from Africa. More people in Nigeria should play basketball because it means so much for the country”.
Williams, who was also in Nigeria last year, applauded ExxonMobil, Africare and NBA for doing enough to promote basketball, saying there was better organisation and enthusiasm from the kids.
The Government Relations Manager, ExxonMobil,
Nigel Cookey-Gam, said ExxonMobil is committed to developing sustainable, long-term community assistance initiatives in Nigeria, such as “Power Forward.”
He expressed thanks to other partners, the NBA, WNBA and Africare for their contributions toward sustaining the program in Nigeria, adding the initiative teaches health literacy and life skills such as leadership, respect and personal responsibility through basketball and other programming to positively impact Nigerian secondary school students in Abuja.
The Deputy Director Student Education Board, FCTA, Victoria George said the Power Forward had become a model which had impacted on the student programme in the FCT. She called for the domestication of the programme and extension to the junior schools.
Model Secondary School Maitama beat GSS Garki in the female final, while GSS Karu emerged the male champions after beating GSS Airport.