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Photos of Mfiondu Kabengele and Bruno Fernando by Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Photos of Bol Bol and Sekou Doumbouya by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images.

Meet the 8 African Players Who've Been Newly Drafted Into the NBA

These players hailing from across the continent are set to have promising careers as new NBA athletes.

The 2019 NBA Draft went down Thursday night at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, where 60 talented hopefuls from college basketball and international leagues were drafted into the NBA.

As our recent preview mentioned, eight players with roots stemming from the continent were in the running for this next step in their professional careers. Out of the prospects, two new and unexpected faces were selected.

Get to know them below.


Chuma Okeke | Nigeria

Okeke was drafted by the Orlando Magic in the first round as the 16th pick. The 20-year-old forward was born in Georgia to a Nigerian father and played for Auburn University.

Read his draft board here.

Chikezie 'KZ' Okpala | Nigeria

Okpala, 20, was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round as the 32nd pick. The rookie small forward, who played for Stanford University, was born in California to his Nigerian-born parents—Martin and Mary Okpala.

Read his draft board here.

Rui Hachimura | Benin + Japan

Hachimura indeed made history becoming the first Japanese-born player to be drafted into the NBA. The rookie power forward from Gonzaga University was drafted by the Washington Wizards in the first round as the ninth pick.

Read his draft board here.

Sekou Doumbouya | Guinea

Doumbouya is the French professional basketball player coming from team Limoges CSP of the LNB Pro A league. The small forward was also drafted in the first round by the Detroit Pistons as the 15th pick.

Read his draft board here.

Mfiondu Kabengele | Democratic Republic of Congo

Kabengele, the nephew of NBA vet and Hall of Fame inductee Dikembe Mutumbo, was drafted by the Brooklyn Nets in the first round as the 27th pick. The rookie center grew up in Canada and attended Florida State University.

Read his draft board here.

Bruno Fernando | Angola

Fernando was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round at the 34th pick. The rookie center attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he averaged 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game by his sophomore year.

Read his draft board here.

Bol Bol | Sudan

Although it was anticipated for Bol Bol to be selected in the first round, the center and son of the late Manute Bol was drafted by the Miami Heat head in the second round as the 44th pick. Bol was then traded to the Denver Nuggets.

Read his draft board here.

Olumiye Oni | Nigeria

Oni was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the second round as the 58th pick, but was then traded to the Utah Jazz. The shooting guard who played for Yale University has made history becoming the first player from the Ivy League to be drafted since Jerome Allen was selected in the second round from University of Pennsylvania in 1995.

Read his draft board here.

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A person holds an umbrella bearing the colors of the rainbow flag as others wave flags during a gay pride rally in Entebbe, Uganda. August 09, 2014. (Photo: ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

A Lesbian Woman, Who Fled Uganda for the US After a Homophobic Attack, Is Now Facing Deportation

The Trump administration does not believe she faces a threat in Uganda, despite the country recently threatening to re-introduce its "Kill the Gays" bill.

A lesbian woman who fled Uganda in the face of homophobic violence, now faces being deported from the US by the Trump administration.

According to a recent report published in Rolling Stone magazine, a Ugandan woman by the name of Margaret sought asylum in the US after being beaten and raped at a festival in Uganda known as a gathering place for the country's LGBTQ community. Following the attack, she entered the country through the US-Mexico border—a dangerous, yet increasingly common route for migrants coming from the continent.

In the Rolling Stone article, she recounts several of the hardships she faced as a lesbian woman coming of age in Uganda and as an African migrant seeking refuge in the US. "I pray that everything works out," Margaret told Rolling Stone. "Because it has been so tough. Ever since I was 13, I just wanted to be free, instead of hiding who I am. I just want to be free, that's all. And happy."

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Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Five African Soccer Players Have Been Shortlisted for the 2019 Ballon d'Or

The thirty-man shortlist includes Egypt's Mohamed Salah, Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Algeria's Riyad Mahrez and Senegalese duo Kalidou Koulibaly and Sadio Mane.

Forbes reports that the official shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, the so-called "Oscars" of professional soccer, has been released. The thirty-man list features five African players including Egypt's Mohamed Salah, Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Algeria's Riyad Mahrez and Senegalese duo Kalidou Koulibaly and Sadio Mane. Established in 1956, the prestigious award was previously only given to Europe-based players. However, it is now awarded to the best player in the world.

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6 Things We Learned About African Migration to Europe in 2019 From a New UN Report

UNDP representatives presented their "Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe" report last night at Okay Space. Here's what we found out.

Yesterday, Okay Space hosted a discussion between UN luminaries Ahunna Eziakonwa, Mohamed Yahya and OkayAfrica CEO, Abiola Oke about the new UNDP report, Scaling Fences: Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe. The report examines young Africans who are leaving their homes to make the dangerous journey to Europe for economic opportunities—not solely for asylum or to escape persecution. The evening was both enlightening and sobering, and the main findings may be a little different than what you might expect.

Immigration to Europe from Africa is roughly 90 percent lower than what it was in 2015.

In 2015, slightly over 1 million Africans left for Europe. In 2018, it was just over 100,000. However, the percentage of those who drown on the journey has increased. In 2015, it was 1.6 percent of that million, while it grew to 2 percent in 2018. Meaning just over 2,000 people died enroute in 2018 alone. It is a disturbing factor that, four years on, more people are dying proportionately than when the large migrations began.

Even though most of Africa is rural, most of the youth leaving the continent for economic reasons are from the urban areas.


85 percent of those who the report identified came from urban cities or towns, though only 45 percent of Africans overall live in those urban areas. This means that most of them are coming from regions with "relatively low levels of deprivation." Analysts believe the rapid urbanization of many African cities could be a contributing factor. Benin City, Nigeria, for instance, has urbanized 122 percent in only ten years. These cities cannot actually support the people—and their ambitions and talents—who live there. It plateaus and does not allow for further upward mobility.

Only 2 percent of those who left say knowing the dangers would have deterred them.

This means 98 percent would do it again, despite the knowledge of fatalities and difficulties in crossing. The appeal of elsewhere is greater than death. This realization is crucial for all nations to better comprehend the true elements belying migration, particularly for those that this report is concerned with. Of the 1,970 migrants from 39 African countries interviewed for the report, almost all of them are willing to face death for economic opportunities abroad than stay home. As most of the migrants had relatively comfortable lives at home, they are not migrating to flee death or persecution as with asylum seekers. This prompts great questions and led the report to look at the issue from four angles: home life in Africa, motivations for leaving, life in Europe, motivations for returning.

58 percent of those who left were employed or in school in their home country.

Not only that, in almost every demographic and country, those who left had a considerably higher amount of education than their peers. From Malu, those leaving had an average of five years of education, compared to one year with peers in their age group and two years for the national average. In Cameroon, those leaving had an average 12 years, their peers had seven and the national average of six. Even when broken down by gender, both men and women who leave have about nine years of education while the national average is five and three, respectively.

Though the average African family size is five, most of those who leave have an average family size of 10.

When asked, migrants said their main motivation to leave is to send money home. This information is important as it may impact the motivations for needing to leave. The report reasons that an increase in population may also be playing a role in the motivations to leave. It was also reported that those who go abroad and find work send an average 90 percent of their earnings to their families. Essentially, they are leaving existing jobs to live on 10 percent of their new wage, highlighting that working below minimum wage in Europe is more prosperous.

Though 70 percent of those in Europe said they wanted to stay permanently, those who were working were more likely to want to return to their home country.

Conversely, the majority of those who did want to stay in Europe were not earning anything, 64 percent of them, and 67 percent did not have a legal right to work. Over half of those who did want to return home had a legal right to work. Analysts reason that those who did want to stay would likely change their mind once they had an income. This correlation speaks to a significant relationship between work and migration permanence. It also underlines the claim that migration for this group is focused solely on economic results as opposed to social factors.


***

What was most striking about the event, however, was the strong feeling communicated in the space about exchanges between Africans regarding what needs to be done. The discussion did not only surround the facts and figures alone, but also the humanity behind understanding why people migrate. At one point, when addressing the crowd of various influential people on the continent and in the diaspora, Eziakonwa said "What are we missing here? What are we doing by leaving young Africans out of the development discussion? Our programs are clearly failing our African youth."

Later, Yahya responded to a question by stating there was certainly a cultural barrier in which Africans do not often address, listen to or respect the youth. "I can say by looking at you that no one in this room would be given a true say," he said. "This is clearly part of the issue." When asked what can be done by others, the response was to work to change the narrative, to focus on prosperity rather than charity and to provide better access and platforms for African youth to share their stories so that the idea of who migrants are shifts. And so we, as Africans, can better know ourselves.

Check out some photos from last night below with photos from Polly Irungu. Follow and share in the changing of that narrative via #ScalingFencesUNDP and #MyJourney.

Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu


Photo by Polly Irungu

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Anjel Boris, Question Mark, 2019, Acrylic and posca on canvas, 133 by 7cm. Image courtesy of Out Of Africa and @artxlagos

What You Need to Know About ArtXLagos 2019

We talked to artistic director of ArtXLagos, Tayo Ogunbiyi, about Lagos's unique art scene and what's to expect from West Africa's biggest art party.

OkayAfrica is a media partner of ArtXLagos 2019.

In three years, ArtXLagos has successfully established itself as West Africa's premier art fair, cementing its reputation as a center of culture for the entire region. Since its founding by Tokoni Peterside in 2016, the art fair has attracted exhibitors, art buyers and members of the West African art scene and beyond—providing a platform for both emerging and established artists and playing a notable role in the global art ecosystem.

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