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NBA: 2 Africans Selected The Same Year As France’s Victor Wembanyama

Last updated on June 26th, 2023 at 08:11 am

The NBA picks talented players from diverse backgrounds to present at the biggest basketball stage. The NBA has selected 2 African players from Nigeria & Senegal.

In the 2023 NBA draft, the San Antonio Spurs had the first pick and selected Victor Wembanyama, an incredibly talented player from France. 

However, it wasn’t until the second round that we saw two African players chosen. James Nnaji from Nigeria and Mohamed Guèye from Senegal were selected in the draft.

James Nnaji, a Nigerian power forward, had recently won the Spanish championship with FC Barcelona. He was chosen 31st by the Detroit Pistons but was later traded to the Boston Celtics, who then sent him to the Charlotte Hornets. 

Nnaji, who has been training with Spanish-Congolese player Serge Ibaka, is known for his skills and joined Barcelona’s first team at just 16 years old.

Mohamed Guèye, a Senegalese center, was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 39th pick. However, the Hornets traded him to the Atlanta Hawks as part of a deal with the Boston Celtics. 

Born in Dakar, Guèye had an impressive season at Washington State, averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds per game.

It’s worth mentioning that Victor Wembanyama and Bilal Coulibaly, both from France, were also drafted in the first round. 

Wembanyama, whose father is a former Congolese high jumper, was selected by the San Antonio Spurs, while Coulibaly, born to Senegalese parents, was chosen by the Indiana Pacers but later traded to the Washington Wizards.

The NBA continues to attract players from all over the world, contributing to the league’s diversity and enriching the game with different playing styles and cultural influences.

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These selection processes highlight the presence of African talent in the NBA and the increasing recognition of players from the continent.