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Ekezie unveils basketball development academy in Lagos 

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Mrs. Ekezie (left), CEO OBN Academy, Obinna Ekezie and other officials at the unveiling of OBN Basketball Academy at Ajah, Lagos…at the weekend. PHOTO: Alex Monye <br />

Former NBA star, Obinna Ekezie, at the weekend unveiled the first African basketball development academy in Lagos. Ekezie said the academy, tagged Organised Basketball Network (OBN) Academy, is part of his efforts to revamp the nation’s basketball, which has been at the grassroots level.

Located at Plot 8 Ogombo Road, Ajah, Lekki, the academy possesses NBA standard basketball arena and facilities suitable for emerging young players to hone their skills in the dunking game.

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According to Ekezie, the academy, which is geared towards harnessing talented boys and girls from ages 6 to 18, will establish the infrastructure and developmental programmes for grassroots development in Nigeria and across Africa.

The ex Atlanta Hawks, L.A Clippers, Washington Wizards, and Vancouver Grizzlies player said OBN Academy would also be delighted to work with the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) and other stakeholders to discover and groom young talents across the country.

“I discovered that after-school activities children don’t have anywhere to hone their skills and discover their talents in basketball.

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“With this initiative, young basketball talents discovered can have the advantage of gaining scholarship into schools in America through my contacts to continue their career in sports and education.

“OBN Academy comprises improving children skills in basketball and education. The academy exposes the young ones to quality basketball facilities, which is not available anywhere in the country for basketball players to learn the game.

“The players would also gain more experience through basketball lessons from experienced foreign and domestic coaches.”

Ekezie disclosed that registration into the academy costs N50, 000, adding that interested players can visit the academy’s website for more information. 

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He added that the academy would run an Easter programme at the rate of N20, 000 per participant, adding, “The biggest challenge of basketball development in Nigeria is infrastructure. But with the unveiling of OBN Academy, we now have a world-class infrastructure that can hold up to 700 spectators, with high definition video cameras and sound to broadcast games and practice courts. We also have a fitness centre.”

He disclosed that the academy would soon be profiling young talents, starting from the age of six to 18 to find and engage them in developmental programmes. We are also having partnerships with schools around the area and also plan to set up sustainable basketball leagues.”

Also speaking at the event, CEO of NBA Africa, Victor Williams, commended Ekezie for establishing a standard world-class basketball academy in Lagos to improve the game in the continent.

“I am happy to be in Nigeria. NBA Africa is really happy to have the opportunity to be here at OBN Hope Centre and see this really impressive basketball facility Obinna and his team have created.”

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“Nigeria really needs a place like this where kids, who are interested in basketball, can be exposed to the dunking game and also have quality facilities to practice techniques with great coaches to work with.

“The kids have all the support that allows them to continue to develop their skills in the game, safely and with great professionalism. It is also great that Obinna is integrating an educational element into this centre so that kids can both get educated here as well as continue to develop their skills in basketball.

“One of the things I find impressive is how much use they are making of locally manufactured materials, such as the hoops, the balls, and other instruments that are necessary for basketball. It is great to see that basketball is being used here as a source and of improving economic development. So what we are seeing here is that basketball development will impact the youths and their positive athletic and social interactions.”

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