The Nigerian Dream

By Sam Rubenstein

nigerian flagTeam U.S.A. this, Team U.S.A. that. The basketball world is fixated on their star power, and then every once in a whle it mentions teams that have beat the U.S. in the past like Lithuania, Argentina, and Puerto Rico. But what about a longshot like Nigeria? As Lang mentioned in The Links, they’ve got the best possible big man coach working with them. Hakeem the Dream. Check out this story in the NY Times.

When not working with his native Nigerians, Hakeem spent some time playing with Emeka Okafor. An excerpt:

He swiftly blocked one of Okafor’s shots and made a nifty move against another player to free himself for a duck-in layup.

“That’s abuse,” Okafor said.

That’s right young man. Learn your lesson. He did it to Shaq when he was young, he can do it to you when he’s old. The Nigerians are coming with an army of shot swatting big men. The NBA centers they’ve produced in the past include… well let’s not mention that right now, but did I mention Hakeem Olajuwon? Ike Diogu and Andre Iguodala could play on the team if they qualify, giving them back to back SLAM Rookie Diary keepers.
Alright, even if Hakeem is the greatest teacher in history it’s still going to be tough. I think he should come out of retirement and play and be the Zidane figure (minus the headbutters) for Nigeria. It was kind of ridiculous that the one and only Dream Team had Ewing and Robinson but couldn’t have THE DREAM, who was a much better player than either one of them. Come on Dream, you know you’re still in sick shape. You can do this!