Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Nigerian Celebrities in diaspora: Andre Iguodala

A basketball player doesn’t get to be known as a celebrity in Nigeria, but in American, it is a good trip to stardom. Andre Iguodala who was recently named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) is an American whose root could be traced to Nigeria. His father being a Nigerian makes him one of us and he rocks the world of basketball which should bring pride to our dear country. A prove that our own could be good.

Andre was born in Springfield, Illinois on January 28, 1984 to an African American mother, Linda Shanklin and a Nigerian father. He grew up wanting to play for Chicago Bulls and having Michael Jordan as the player he looked up to. He attended high school at Lanphier High School, Illinois, where he did well academically and athletically. He attended the University of Arizona from 2002 to 2004.

Andre’s career begun in high school where he led the team as a senior to a runner-up finish at the Illinois High School Association Class AA state tournament in the 2002 season. He was also a finalist for the Illinois Mr. Basketball award.  In 2004, he was drafted with the ninth overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers. Andre played in Philadelphia until the summer of 2012, when he was traded to the Denver Nuggets in a four team trade. In July, 2013, Andre joined Golden State Warriors at a four-year $48million deal. He has also played for the United States national basketball team, helping USA win gold in an Olympic final against Spain. 

Andre has won several awards doing what he knows how to do best. In 2004, he was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshmen team. In 2005, he was named to NBA All-Rookie First team. In 2006 he was NBA Rookie Challenge MVP. He was named to NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2011 and NBA All-Star in 2012. Then in 2014, he was named to NBA All-Defensive First Team. This year he was NBA Finals MVP and his team won the NBA championship.

Apart from basketball, Andre is involved in humanitarian services and was named one of ‘the good guys of 2006’ by The Sporting News for establishing the Andre Iguodala Disaster Relief Fund that raised money for tornado victims in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois. Andre also established the Andre Iguodala Youth Foundation, with stated mission to use sports as a means to help youths. This Foundation has hosted basketball camps and the annual ‘Thanksgiving with Dre’ which has distributed food baskets to families in need.

Faith to Andre who is a christian is something he heavily lean on to get that balance he needs to be focused. He believes that when people see him in court, they see God’s work. To him playing basketball goes beyond representing his country or NBA, but also includes representing one’s beliefs. To this end, when he plays, he plays hard for someone who died for him-Christ.

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