Perfect time to represent Nigeria for Utah Jazz’s Miye Oni

A Nigerian-American basketball player, Mihir Oni has been selected to represent the Utah Jazz in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program. Oni is a member of the Golden State Warriors’ G League affiliate team, the Santa Cruz Warriors.

The Jazz are in the NBA playoffs and Miye Oni is expected to be a part of the team. It’s time for him to represent Nigeria.

Pounded yam with egusi soup served with oxtail is Miye Oni’s favorite Nigerian dish.

That’s about as Nigerian a meal as you’ll find, particularly the oxtail. It’s a meal that can be found in both fine dining establishments and run-down taverns, and it’s a staple in most Nigerian households.

Oni is Yoruba-speaking, and although his “ese o” has an American accent, there is little question that he was reared in a Nigerian household with Nigerian values.

He doesn’t speak pidgin English, but his favorite artists, Burna Boy and Wizkid, more than make up for it.

The Nigerian basketball federation has targeted Oni, like most other children of first-generation Nigerian immigrants, as they attempt to rebuild the program around NBA potential.

However, the hiring of Golden State Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown in 2019 gave matters a boost. His profile, outreach, and readiness to scout, persuade, and cajole has sped up the process, convincing players like Oni, Jahlil Okafor, and others to join the Nigerian national team.

Miye Oni, who plays for the Utah Jazz in the NBA, is bringing his form to the Tokyo Olympics with Nigeria. Getty Images/Joe Murphy/NBAE

However, the Jazz guard tells ESPN that it was a matter of when, not if, for him.

He said, “It simply wasn’t the appropriate moment.” “Things did not work out at that time. However, this is the ideal moment for me to represent Nigeria in the Tokyo Olympics.”

And now that it’s finally occurred, he thinks it was crucial for his parents to put on the green and white strip.

“They were overjoyed. It’s crucial to them. They are constantly teaching me about Nigerian culture and other things. So it’s significant to them, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s something my whole family is looking forward to.”

Oni made his competitive debut for the D’Tigers, who were defeated 67-84 by Australia in their first game of the Olympics. But, as upset as he was with the outcome, it was eclipsed by something more important: the pride he had in serving his homeland.

“It meant everything to me,” Oni added. “My mother was born in the nation where my father grew up. I’ve been there before. It means a lot to me and my family to be able to show our pride everywhere we go.

“It means a lot to me to be able to represent this nation, with all of its rich history, and truly strive to make this country proud.”

– The Undefeated: In Tokyo, Precious Achiuwa is a family man.

Nigeria’s goal in Tokyo was to win a medal. Coach Brown has made it obvious, and the players have embraced the objective. However, losing to Australia, particularly following two exhibition victories over the United States and Argentina, served as a wake-up call for the squad. They must immediately press the reset button.

“Every game will be a battle and a challenge. That is exactly what we anticipated, and nothing has changed “Oni said.

“All we have to do is play our best and not worry about our opponents; all we have to do is concentrate about what we can control and execute where coach wants us to put us in a strong position to win every game.”

The squad dominated number one-ranked Team USA in those two exhibition victories, then followed up with another crushing effort against number three-ranked Argentina. The demonstrations, though, revealed distinct aspects of Brown’s attacking and defensive repertoire.

“It’s just our general athleticism.” We’re tall, athletic, and quick. That is always going to be our strength as Nigerians.

“As a result, we’ll be able to go to the rim and defend. But I believe that if we get together as a group and start clicking, we may be really exceptional.”

It will be a first for an African country if they make it to the top of the podium. However, the Nigerian basketball team is no stranger to being first, particularly in recent years. They made history by being the first African team to qualify for the Olympic Games via World Cup competition, as well as the first African team to defeat Team USA.

Nigerian basketball has a bright future ahead of it, with the addition of more NBA-caliber players possible in the future.

For Oni, the only thing he wants to do is help D’Tigers make history.

“I always play hard and in the correct manner with energy, effort, and just trying to make the right plays every time I walk on the floor and do what our coach wants me to do, and I feel like I could play in a variety of ways. So I’ll do everything the team requires and whatever the coach wants of me, and I’ll step up from my team.”

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