Nigerian Basketball Federation came to a decision to withdraw teams from international competitions. The Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri and the Boston Celtics’ head coach Ime Udoka spoke out against the federation’s decision.
Ujiri released a statement saying “enough is enough” and calling for the resignations and a rebirth of the Nigerian federation. Ujiri and Udoka are both of Nigerian descent. Udoka addressed the situation before the Celtics face the Warriors in Gm2 of the NBA Finals.
“I talk to the younger guys who have played in the NBA recently with the Nigerian team and it sounds like a lot of the same things I went through as a player there,” Udoka said on the situation in the Nigeria NT.
“Not a lot has changed and it is disappointing. Looks like a little bit of restructuring from the top would help.”
FIBA, basketball’s global governing body, said it had no choice last week but to remove Nigeria from the 12-team field for the women’s FIBA World Cup that will occur later this year and replace it with Mali.
“From the Ministry of Sports to the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF), the leaders of the basketball ecosystem in Nigeria continue to rob our youth of their present and future while tearing the entire basketball community apart – this needs to stop,” Ujiri wrote.
The problems in Nigerian basketball revolve around a leadership tussle at the national federation, which elected two different presidents in parallel elections in January. As a result, the Ministry of Sports banned the teams from all international competition.
As a result, the Nigerian NT and WNT participation in the 2024 Olympic Games is in jeopardy. The teams will be unable to play and win a ticket for the Olympic Tournament if they do not participate in the FIBA tournaments the next two years.
“A lot of the same stuff I dealt with as a player, which is disappointing,” Udoka revealed.
“Growth of the sport in general in Nigeria at the town level, whether it’s abroad or in Nigeria, because it’s vast, you have the players and the — not as much as of the aspect of coaching that you need over there.”