Led by Miami Heat point guard Gabe Vincent, the D’Tigers on Saturday became the first African team to defeat the invincible Team USA and its NBA stars. A 90-87 victory that proved the work of coach Mike Brown. And on Monday, the team backed up their weekend achievement by beating world fourth ranked team Argentina 94-71.
That was also a first for an African nation.
“I am passionate about this thing and it has brought me, so far, more excitement with any job I have had at any time in my career. Even though we haven’t won anything yet, the level of excitement that I feel, the passion that I feel, the opportunity, in my opinion, to help elevate not only the country, Nigeria, but hopefully the continent of Africa, is a remarkable feeling that is hard to describe”– Brown said.
“As long as you behave the way your parents and grandparents raised you and give it your all on the court, you’re fine. Because all these guys, from what I’ve seen talking to them, were brought up in homes where they were brought up in the Nigerian way. So they all understand their roots very, very well and they are all passionate about their roots because of their parents and the people that came before them.” Brown stressed.
With seven NBA players in its ranks, Vincent but also Okafor, Achiuwa or Okogie, Nigeria relies on a strong community settled in the United States.
“As you said, the fact that we are playing well in these games can lift the spirits of a lot of people, not only in Nigeria, but also in the African continent. And also, there are a lot of black people in the world, especially in the diaspora, who identify with the African continent. And so, it can help to uplift, unite, connect an entire group.”
With these two historic successes. the highly rated Nigerian side is expected by many to get a medal at the Tokyo Olympics games.