Chamberlain Oguchi, Nigeria D’Tigers guard and Most Valuable Player at the 2015 Tunisia Afrobasket, has nothing but deep respect for Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers guard and fellow Olympian.
In a chat with Basketball Within Borders recently, Oguchi shared some of his fond memories of the Lakers legend and future Hall of Famer. Champ Oguchi is not just good at pulling up jump shots to scorch opponents like his “inspiration”, as he refers to Bryant in this article; he (Oguchi) also has his way with words. So we figured fans would love to read the undiluted words of The Champ himself:
“[Yes] I had my encounters with Kobe Bryant on and off the court during the 2012 London Olympic Games. The most memorable occurred in the second quarter of our game versus the USA when I got matched up defensively with Kobe in transition. As he did his best to shake me, I yelled at him repeatedly, ‘No, sir Kobe!’ At that moment he shoveled a pass to Kevin Durant, who nailed the open three-pointer from the corner, and then he winked at me while back-pedaling down the court as if to say, ‘I’m not the only one on this team that needs to be stopped.’ Off the court, he was very personable despite being a global sports icon.
“Kobe Bryant has had a tremendous impact on the game of basketball, and has been an inspiration to me throughout my basketball playing career. He is arguably the best shooting guard in NBA history. Therefore, his retirement should come with much respect and appreciation for all that he brought to the game.” – Oguchi
“Kobe Bryant has had a tremendous impact on the game of basketball, and has been an inspiration to me throughout my basketball playing career. He is arguably the best shooting guard in NBA history. Therefore, his retirement should come with much respect and appreciation for all that he brought to the game. His skills, along with his competitiveness, passion, dedication, and work ethic were something to marvel at. Not many are aware, but during my college basketball years, I would do my best to emulate Kobe as I referred to myself as ‘The Kobe Bryant of College Basketball’. I watched all his highlights, and tried to mimic his shot-making abilities along with the ‘killer-instinct’ he possessed.”
Well, now that we know where Oguchi got some of that ‘killer mentality’ from, we sure won’t be surprised if the Illinois State alum poses with a snake or a tiger sometime in the near future. Maybe. Maybe not. But at least, the picture below proves a point of that shared ‘killer instinct.
In the conversation with BWB last December, Oguchi said he wished Bryant could suit up one last time for Team USA at Rio 2016 Olympics to give international fans something to cheer on as he draws the curtain on an illustrious career. Sadly for basketball fans hoping to watch Bryant at an international event one more time, that will not be happening anymore as Bryant made it official last Saturday that he will not be joining USA Basketball at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
But Bryant’s decision will not quench Oguchi’s thirst for a rematch between the Nigeria D’Tigers and the USA Men’s Senior Basketball Team as he made known in an article published last October on FIBA website that he hopes both teams meet again at the Olympic Games.
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