Not every young and aspiring sportsman is lucky to have met their idols, largely due to location and many other resources that will go into fulfilling such fantasies while the reality of their dream is still far ahead.
For 15-year-old Kisho Uoryoho, a basketball player and student of GreenSprings School, Lekki, Lagos, he met 2021 NBA Champion and Milwaukee Bucks small forward, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, without traveling out of the country on Thursday, July 13.
Coincidentally, the NBA star who is the older brother of two-time NBA MVP winner, Giannis Antetokounmpo, was visiting Nigeria for the first time, and as part of his activities, he had a mentorship session with students of three schools in Lekki, and Uoryoho was not just among them, he stood out.
In the euphoria of having an NBA star talk to him and his teammates during a one-on-one session, Uoryoho began with the curiosity of getting to understand why it’s difficult for young basketball players to thrive in this part of the world, unlike their counterparts in Europe and America.
As the session became relaxed, the youngster also used the opportunity to display his replica of the Nike Zoom Freak shoes which is a brand of Giannis Antetokounmpo, to the amazement of Thanasis and his mother, Veronica Antetokounmpo, who was also present at the event.
“This is really inspiring and a proud moment for our mom and the entire family as well because someone who hasn’t even met me or any of my brothers before uses the Zoom Freak shoes. It shows how much we are loved,” Thanasis acknowledged the lad.
The Zoom Freak shoes is the fifth most worn shoes by NBA players and the GreenSprings student prides himself among many others who have its replica all around the world. The shoes are a mix of technology and eye-catching graphics and colors. Which supports powerful and quick athletes in their aggressive and fast.
“I play point guard and shooting guard and I’m a big fan of the Antetokounmpos. This is actually my second pair of their shoes, so seeing him in front of me, I had to show him how much I adore him,” Uoryoho told PUNCH Sports Extra.
On the court, the youngster also dazzled during a one-on-one offense and defense play against Thanasis. He was the only player to score a point off the NBA star in attack. He also mimicked the popular jubilation of the Antetokounmpos while he was joined by his teammates.
“Seeing Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who is of Nigerian descent and also in the NBA is really inspiring because that is where I aspire to be and I’m really looking forward to it. His family and their accomplishment in the NBA is also a big thing as well.”
“One thing I’ve learned from Thanasis is the belief in oneself and work ethic. That brought him this far, it also worked for many others with difficult upbringing and it could work for me as well,” Uoryoho said.
Just like the Antetokounmpos, Uoryoho’s parents support his basketball career and he is a key member of the school’s basketball team.
“In some years to this time, I certainly see myself in some NBA talks, not necessarily a player but a prospect aiming to be drafted at a very professional level of basketball,” he said.