James Nnaji, who turns 19 on Aug. 14, 2023, is among the youngest players in the draft class. Standing at 6-foot-11, 226 pounds with a 7-foot-5 wingspan, Nnaji is a rotational center for FC Barcelona.
James Nnaji: Late Start With Brave Heart
Nnaji first picked up a basketball in 2016 in Markurdi, where he started learning about the game.
A video showreel composition made by his mum went viral in 2018 on Facebook.
The viral video changed the course of his life as he made the leap to the Giants of Africa basketball camp.
Going Viral put him on a path to Ratgeber Basketball Academy in Hungary.
The Nigerian-born big man arrived in Barcelona in 2020 after spending a season with Pecsi in Hungary. Before making his professional debut, he played with U18 Barcelona in Adidas Next Generation Tournament, helping it reach the championship game at the 2021 ANGT Finals while being named to the All-Tournament team.
He was drafted by Detroit Pistons 1st pick in the second round on his way to Boston Celtics.
Furthermore, he has been traded to the Charlotte Hornets, where he’ll fight for a place on the roster.
Racism in Spain
Spanish sport continues to wrestle with the global outcry on racism as the Nigerian youngster became the latest victim.
Real Madrid fans racially abused Nnaji during a Spanish basketball championship game.
Barcelona basketball team coach Sarunas Jasikevicius on the racist abuse suffered by Nigerian player James Nnaji during their Spanish champ final victory over Real Madrid: “I hear a lot about Vinicius, and now it’s us who have to talk about what’s going on.”
Meanwhile, Barcelona beat Real Madrid 93-82 on Tuesday to win the club’s 20th Spanish league title.