Five years after his demise, tributes continue to pour in for former Chairman, PUNCH Nigeria Ltd and founder of the Dolphins Female Basketball Foundation, the late Mr. Gbadebowale Aboderin.
A sports enthusiast and philanthropist, Aboderin died May 30, 2018 after a heart surgery at the First Cardiology Consultants, Ikoyi, Lagos aged 60.
He was also a former Chairman, Lagos State Basketball Association and one-time Vice President, Nigerian Basketball Supporters Club.
Speaking at the memorial basketball game in honour of the icon at the Dolphins Basketball Court, Ikeja, Lagos, Chairman, Lagos State Basketball Referees Council, Simon Evbuomwan, praised Aboderin for his strides in African basketball.
He said, “He was a great man who touched many lives. Though, he founded the Dolphins female team, he still had a lot to do with men’s basketball and the referees. What made him unique was that he did everything selflessly just to make life better for others.
“His absence has been greatly felt in Africa. Dolphins qualified to represent Nigeria several times at the Africa Club Championships and their records are there.”
Chairman, PUNCH Nigeria Ltd, Angela Emuwa, expressed delight at the initiative of the Dolphins team in honouring their late chairman.
“I am very impressed with this initiative and it shows that the former Dolphins never forgot my brother,” she said.
“He invested so much in them and he changed the directions that their lives were going. He did a lot for them because many went to school abroad through scholarships; and many of them have started their families.
“I am excited that they, on their own, came up with this idea. They approached me, that they wanted to do this because he invested so much in their lives.
“It is very appropriate that this year’s celebration falls on the day we are celebrating the fathers because he was a father figure to them while he was alive. He treated them the same way he would have treated his children. They went to events together.”
Tokunbo Ijomah, a former captain of Dolphins and now coach of Dream Sports Africa stated, “Aboderin is a legend, he gave us life and education. He even thought us how to be better wives and that alone is enough.
“Trust me, if he was alive, some of the things we see in the basketball federation today won’t happen. He was so keen on female basketball and that’s why he invested so much of his time and resources into it, and the moment he left us, female basketball left us too. We miss him and we will forever adore him.”
Angela Izaga, a pioneer member of the Dolphins team, was close to tears while eulogising the late philanthropist.
“Before I joined the team, I didn’t know so much about basketball, but he saw something in me and he gave me the opportunity,” she said.
“If he was alive today, basketball wouldn’t have been the way it is because he was open-minded and did so much as Chairman of Lagos State Basketball Association.”
A member of the Dolphins basketball team, Hope Oliseh, added that Aboderin’s colossal investment in the game would forever be remembered.
“He was so willing to empower the youths through basketball, ensuring that our education and wellbeing was top priority. Nothing beats someone who was willing to put the interests of others first and while he may not be with us again, his legacy lives on. The team is not dead and that’s why we put together something like this.”