Portland Trail Blazers’ Aminu to Participate in First NBA Game in Africa
Friday, July 31, 2015
Ahead of the game, Aminu's been showing his enthusiasm. Upon arrival he tweeted, “First night in Johannesburg and I’m too excited about everything.” On Wednesday, he took some time out from team training to participate in a Basketball Without Borders Camp event, posting an Instagram photo of him playing with students at the American International School of Johannesburg.
Aminu, who was born in the United States, is eligible to play for Team Africa because of his Nigerian heritage. His first trip to Africa was for another Basketball Without Borders event in 2012. Since then he has represented Nigeria in the AfroBasket tournament and continued work with Basketball Without Borders, participating in the NBA West Africa Development Camp and helping solidify the relationship between the NBA and the continent of Africa.
Other league players, including Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka and former Portland Trail Blazer Nicolas Batum, will join Farouq on Team Africa. The team will be captained by Luol Deng of the Miami Heat, who commented on the historic nature of the game earlier this week. “For us it means a lot, finally having a game here and I think for everyone who is a basketball fan it’s a huge step forward.”
Earlier this month, Aminu signed a four year, $30 million contract with the Blazers. He is a dark horse candidate for a starting forward position this season in the absence of last year’s starting forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum.
Last season with the Mavericks, Aminu averaged 5.6 points in 18.5 minutes played per game and shot 41.2 percent from the floor. While his offensive statistics were less than stellar, Aminu averaged 4.6 rebounds per game and was a solid asset on defense. He was not a starter during his season with Dallas, and would have to improve his production to earn a spot in the starting five this season in Portland.
The NBA Africa game will be held on Saturday, August 1 at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa. The game will be broadcast in the United States on ESPN beginning at 7 a.m. PT.
Related Slideshow: 12 of the Greatest Sports Movies of All Time
Hank Stern ranks his top twelve favorite sports films.
#8 The Longest Yard
Not the remake with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. But the hilarious original with Burt Reynolds and Eddie Albert as a wonderfully villainous warden who pits the guards against the inmates in a grudge football game that includes former Green Bay linebacker Ray Nitschke and other ex-football players like Sonny Sixkiller and Joe Kapp, both stalwart Pac-8 quarterbacks long, long ago.
- Great Moments in Premature Sports Celebration
- Are College Sports ‘Worth it’?
- Why Football - All Sports- Should Not be Compared to “War”
- Why Legal Sports Betting is the Same as Allowing Athletes to Smoke Pot
- Taking A Look At The Top Boys Basketball Teams In Oregon