The Brooklyn Nets guard, Spencer Dinwiddie, is trying to acquire the Nigerian passport, which would allow him to play at the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo.
“Sources: Nets‘ Spencer Dinwiddie is acquiring a Nigerian passport to play for the Nigeria national team. Dinwiddie didn’t receive Team USA Olympic invite,” NBA insider Shams Charania wrote on his Twitter account.
This news was confirmed by the player himself, who replied positively to one comment on Twitter, which suggested this news.
Sources: Nets‘ Spencer Dinwiddie is acquiring a Nigerian passport to play for the Nigeria national team. Dinwiddie didn’t receive Team USA Olympic invite; now joins Nigeria roster under Mike Bown that includes Al-Farouq Aminu, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu, Ekpe Udoh.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 18, 2020
It would be a big boost for the Nigerian team, and also a dream come true for Dinwiddie, who was trying to earn an invitation to the Team USA training camp. However, once it became obvious that he won’t be on Gregg Popovich’s list, the 6-foot-5 guard decided to choose the alternative way of reaching Tokyo.
Dinwiddie blossomed over the past two years, becoming one of the Nets’ leaders. He would lead the team to the playoffs in 2019, along with D’Angelo Russell, who was later traded to the Warriors in exchange for Kevin Durant. Instead of the young guard, the Nets brought Kyrie Irving as the organizer, but Uncle Drew spent most of his season injured, and that is when Dinwiddie jumped in.
He would become the key player of the team, averaging 20.6 points, and 6.8 assists in 31.2 minutes each night. Those figures are significantly better when looking only at the games without Irving on the court. Dinwiddie ended 10th in the All-Star voting among the East-based guards. No doubt, if he didn’t have to sit when Kyrie played, the 27-yer old would be an All-Star.
He is currently in the second season of his three-year deal worth $34 million, and according to many, the Nets will try to sign an extension with him already this summer. The team from Brooklyn is seventh in the East, with 30 wins and 34 losses, and will most likely enter the postseason if the campaign is resumed.
On the other side, the Nigerian national team would receive a massive boost before the Olympics. They ended the previous FIBA World Cup in China at the 17th place and qualified for Tokyo as the best-placed African country.
They are slowly improving, as more and more young players from this country head to play NCAA college basketball each year. Right now, they have two players in the NBA – Al-Farouq Aminu of the Orlando Magic and Josh Okogie from the Timberwolves, along with several others who played in the league.
What is Nigeria’s big advantage is its head coach Mike Brown. The 50-year old assistant coach in Golden State, became the head coach of this African country in February. His previous experience is big, as he led the Cavaliers in 6 seasons (two stints) and the Lakers (less than one year), recording solid results. With LeBron in charge on the court, Brown led the Cavaliers past the first round of the Eastern playoffs in five straight seasons.
So, Dinwiddie’s arrival to Nigeria could be a win-win situation for both sides. The team would get one of the best players in the league at the moment, while on the other side, he himself would have the honor of competing at the Olympics. After this move, we could see more players with African or different origins, following Dinwiddie’s example. After all, a chance to participate in the Olympics appears once in a lifetime.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.