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More Nigerian-Americans Are Reaching Highest Levels of Sports

JERÉ LONGMANMARCH | New York Times   in  · ·
March 31, 2015

TEMPE, Ariz. — At Arizona State’s recent Senior Day celebration, guard Promise Amukamara was escorted onto the basketball court by her four sisters, whose mellifluous names spoke of royalty and hope: Peace, a teammate, along with Princess, Precious and Passionate.

Their brother, Prince, a cornerback for the Giants, sent his well wishes in a text message.

“All of them got scholarships to university,” said Christy Amukamara, the family matriarch. She smiled. “That was a great relief for us.”

Technically, Passionate, a high school senior, had yet to sign a scholarship offer as her team played for an Arizona prep basketball championship. Still, the Amukamaras are at the forefront of a growing number of Nigerian-American athletes, born in the United States, who are excelling at the top levels of high school, college and professional sports.

Andre Iguodala and Victor Oladipo play in the N.B.A., and Ime Udoka is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. The brothers Samuel and Emmanuel Acho are in the N.F.L. The sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike of the W.N.B.A. were the only siblings drafted No. 1 over all in a professional sport besides Peyton and Eli Manning. Jahlil Okafor of Duke is predicted by many to be the first pick in the coming N.B.A. draft. And the sprinter Courtney Okolo of the University of Texas set a women’s N.C.A.A. record of 50.03 seconds at 400 meters last spring…

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