NBA championship win for Bucks' Jordan Nwora a good omen for Nigeria ahead of Tokyo

Wilbon ranks Giannis' performance as one of the greatest ever (1:32)

Michael Wilbon calls Giannis Antetokounmpo's performance in Game 6 one of the greatest of all-time. (1:32)

NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has grabbed the headlines, and deservedly so, for leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the title, but the win also means Nigeria starlet Jordan Nwora claimed a ring in his rookie season.

On Tuesday, the Bucks wrapped up their first title since 1971, closing out at home against the Phoenix Suns -- the team with the best road record in the regular season.

They did it the hard way, in topsy-turvy fashion, taking a 13-point lead, and then letting the Suns go on a 20-point swing to take the lead in a torrid second quarter. But with a huge, 50-point performance from Giannis, the Bucks came back to win.

And Nwora, who scored his first ever NBA Finals points by draining a three-pointer in Game 3, had a few special additions to the Deer Nation cheering him on from the Nigeria training camp in Tokyo.

"We are all extremely happy for Jordan," said Miami Heat's Gabriel Vincent, who was in last year's Finals.

"Especially myself, having just been there, so I know the emotions that come with it and being in a similar position he's in now.

"I'm hoping he enjoyed every minute of it. We'd have love to have him here, but he needs to take care of business over there."

Nwora has been named in Nigeria's final roster for the Olympic Games, and although he has not been part of the training camp so far, the 22-year-old is expected in Japan soon.

While he has been away, D'Tigers have stunned the world with exhibition game wins over number one-ranked Team USA and number four-ranked Argentina.

All of that without the 6'8" forward, who is rated as one of the team's best snipers.

Although he was already playing international basketball as a college athlete, Nwora was one of a record-high nine players of Nigerian origin selected in the 2020 NBA Draft. Among his peers was Precious Achiuwa who, like Nwora, has been picked by head coach Mike Brown to be on Nigeria's 12-man roster in Tokyo.

"I talk to Jordan all the time. Me and him we are very close, we have a unique relationship even before I came to the United States. I am so excited and happy for him right now," Achiuwa told ESPN.

"When I talk to him, I tell him I can't wait for him to come out here. To come join us, and just be able to go out there and do these things together. I think it'll be big for both of us. But I think it's also huge for him going from the NBA Finals to the Olympics.

"It's a great look for him. All that experience in just one year. This is amazing."


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One person Nwora would have loved to have seen in the stands, cheering him on, would have been his dad, Alex. But like everyone else on D'Tigers team, the older Nwora is busy with training camp duties.

Alex Nwora has not been at any of the games, as he helps Brown prepare the Nigeria national team for their Tokyo adventure.

"It was a huge sacrifice for him not to be able to go out there and support Jordan in the NBA Finals," NBBF president Musa Kida told ESPN.

"But that is what you do for your country, and we cannot thank Alex enough for the sacrifice he has made just to be here when he could be there in one of the most special moments of his son's life.

"That is what patriotism means and that is what makes Alex such a great person. We are all extremely proud of Jordan and cannot wait to welcome him back to our team for the Olympics."

Alex, of course is immensely proud of his son's accomplishment, says Brown: "Any father wants his son around and wants to be there cheering them on and I cannot speak for Alex, but I know he is proud of his son being in the NBA Finals at such a young stage in his career and then going on to win it."

The Bucks' win also means -- for the third year in a row -- the NBA title has had a Nigerian footprint. This, after Masai Ujiri with the Toronto Raptors in 2019 and the other Antetokounmpo, Kostas, with the Lakers in 2020.