Nigerian forward at the 2017 FIBA Africa Championship for Men, O’Karo Akamune, paid tribute to his late grandfather in a special way, dedicating the silver medal he won at the Afrobasket to the late Sir Etim Inyang.
In a post on his Instagram page, Akamune reminisced on how the former Nigeria Inspector General of Police influenced his career in basketball, noting that basketball was his initial attraction until the age of 14 when Sir Inyang advised him to switch to basketball instead.
“The influence he had on me shaped me as a man today. In fact, I can owe my entire professional career to him. As a young kid, football was my sport of choice. I thought I would grow up to play professionally, you know a typical kid with NFL dreams. And I was working hard towards that goal. When I was about 14, my grandfather suggested that I stop playing football and play basketball instead.
Initially, I wondered why the man who loved and supported me in all things suddenly asked me to basically find a new life dream. But looking up to my grandfather as I did, I trusted his suggestion and went for it. I knew my grandpa took the time to get to know people and he had a special gift of seeing their true potential. With some doubt, I trusted my grandfather’s decision and slowly transitioned. Needless to say, he got me where I am today and was a constant motivating factor in my life and career.”
Grandpa, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that exactly a year later I was blessed with this opportunity to play for the National Nigerian Basketball Team in the FIBA Afrobasket tournament. An opportunity that I know would have made you proud. Unfortunately we came up short in the championship game, placing second and receiving this silver medal. I would have loved to bring back a gold medal to you, but I was more than happy just for the opportunity to represent 180 million people in the country you dedicated your life to. I love you grandpa, I dedicate this all to you!”
The 25-year-old Akamune is a 6’7 forward and an alumnus of Western Kentucky University. He has also played professional basketball for the Lagos Islanders (Nigeria).