Ademola Okulaja

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Ademola Okulaja
Personal information
Born (1975-07-10) July 10, 1975 (age 41)
Lagos, Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian/German
Listed height 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight 235 lb (107 kg)
Career information
College North Carolina (1995–1999)
NBA draft 1999 / Undrafted
Playing career 1999–2009
Position Power forward
Career history
1999–2000 ALBA Berlin
2000–2001 Girona
2001–2002 FC Barcelona
2002–2003 Unicaja Málaga
2003–2004 Girona
2004 Benetton Treviso
2004–2005 Pamesa Valencia
2005–2006 RheinEnergie Köln
2006–2007 Khimki Moscow
2007 Etosa Alicante
2007–2009 Brose Baskets

Ademola Okulaja, (born July 10, 1975) is a German former professional basketball player of Nigerian origin. The last team he played for were the Brose Baskets from Germany.

The 6' 9", 235 lb (2.06 m, 107 kg) forward played college basketball in the United States at North Carolina and flirted briefly with the NBA before moving on to a successful international professional basketball career in Europe.

Early life[edit]

Okulaja was born in Nigeria, but moved to Berlin with his family at the age of 3.[1] In 1995, he graduated from John F. Kennedy School in Berlin, before enrolling at the University of North Carolina.

Collegiate career[edit]

Okulaja played college basketball at North Carolina from 1995 to 1999. During the 1997-1998 NCAA season, he was a member of new coach Bill Guthridge's successful "six starters" rotation with Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Ed Cota, Shammond Williams and Makhtar N'Diaye. In his senior season, he was named MVP of the Tar Heels basketball team, and won a spot on the 1998-99 All-Atlantic Coast Conference First Team.

Professional career[edit]

Okulaja has played professionally for a variety of Euroleague teams, including ALBA Berlin (1999–2000) and RheinEnergie Köln (2005–2006) in Germany; CB Girona (2000–2001 and 2003–04), Barcelona (2001–2002), Unicaja Malaga (2002–2003) and Pamesa Valencia (2004–2005) in Spain; and Benetton Treviso in Italy (2004).[2][3] His ALBA Berlin team won the 1999-2000 German National (Bundesliga) championship. He won the "Rookie of the Year" award with Girona, and was an All-League First Team selection that year.[4] In 2002, he won the award for "Most Spectacular Player" at the Spanish All-Star Game.[5]

Okulaja had three different attempts to join the NBA; his first training camp experience was with the Philadelphia 76ers, then with the San Antonio Spurs, and finally the Utah Jazz, but was unable to make an NBA roster.

In 2008, he was diagnosed with a spinal tumor and had to go into a one-year long therapy.[6] After it proved to be successful, Okulaja played one more season for the Brose Baskets.

On July 12, 2010, he announced his retirement from professional basketball.[7]

German national team[edit]

Okulaja was also an experienced member of the Germany national basketball team. He played with the team at the European Championships in 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001. He competed with the German National Team in Japan at the 2006 FIBA World Basketball Championship tournament alongside NBA star Dirk Nowitzki.


External links[edit]