Onyeka Okongwu He was 13 years old when one day he sent a text message to his older brother’s mobile. I never answered him. Nnamdi had suffered a accident with his skateboard and had hit his head. He was kept alive for three days connected to a machine until he finally died. He played basketball and was one of the strongest promises of High School in the United States. Affection to the little one, of whom he used to say that he would be better than him. We will never know, but it is not a bad tribute that Onyeka has reached the NBA.
At 2.03 meters and 21 years old, he lives his second season with the Hawkswho chose him in sixth place in the 2020 edition. The ceremony was exciting for the whole family, who had moved to Califormia from Nigeria in 1999. They saw it live, because the young man was a serious contender to be in the Top 10. They all hugged when the commissioner of the NBA pronounced Onyeka’s name. The memory of Nnamdi became very present at that moment.
Because of him, he wore number 21 Onyeka back in his high school days. Chino Hillwhere his brother had previously played and he coincided with the brothers Ball, Lonzo, LaMelo, and LiAngelo. I also wore it in the University of Southern California. But when he got to the Hawks he had to change his number, because 21 was retired in honor of Dominique Wilkins. He chose 17, the age Nnamdi was when he died.
12 other brothers
The loss of his brother was very painful, although a coach with whom he still has a relationship would ease his pain. “I know what you lost a brother, but here you have 12 brothers and we will take care of you”, Told him. Everything Onyeka does in basketball is dedicated to his brother. “I want him to be proud. That’s why I work hard every day. I want to do something great that he never had the chance to do.”he assures.
After a year in the Trojans from Southern California, went to the draft and is now in his second season in the NBA with the Hawks. He has played 82 games in his career in the League and this season, during which his father has died, he is averaging 8.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 20.8 minutes on court. His powerful physique is his main virtue and allows him to pull off ‘alley-oops’ like the one has led the Top 10 of the last day. One more reason for Nnamdi to be proud.