Oladipo’s first choice, of course, is to be selected to play for USA Basketball – the heavy favorites to win a third straight gold medal – in the Summer Olympics. However, if Oladipo is bypassed by USA Basketball, he could opt to play for Nigeria because of his parents’ heritage with the African country.
“Playing in the Olympics is definitely a dream, but I’ll worry about it when the time comes. Right now, the focus is on winning games for the Orlando Magic,’’ Oladipo said on Tuesday. “At the end of the day, whatever (Olympic) opportunity appears on the table, it will be about making the right decision that’s best for me.’’
Oladipo is very proud of his Nigerian heritage and he said that his mother is very aware that her son could play for her native country. Nigeria, the 2015 Africas champion, still must qualify for the Olympics next summer. “My mom obviously knows because she pays attention to stuff like that, but she’s never mentioned anything to me about it,’’ Oladipo said with a chuckle. “I just go out there and play basketball. Whatever decision comes, I’ll make that decision when I need to.’’
Nigeria beat Angola 74-65 in the Final of AfroBasket 2015 in Rades, Tunisia on Sunday to claim their first-ever continental championship. In being crowned African champions, the Nigerians also qualified for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Meanwhile, second-place Angola joined third- and fourth-place Tunisia and Senegal in booking their places for the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQTs).
What’s on your travel bucket list? Andre Iguodala: I don’t have a buck list, really, but I really want to get back to Africa. I plan on next year or sometime in the next two years, at the most, on getting back to Africa. A good friend of mine was just there and had the experience of a lifetime, so I plan on getting back really soon. I’ve got to go to Nigeria, because that’s where my fathers from. I’d like to start there and go to a few other places.