D’Tigers captain Ike Diogu says his journey with the national basketball team is much closer to the end than the beginning with retirement likely next year.
In a nostalgia-filled chat with Nigeria Basketball Federation Media, the 2017 Afrobasket Most Valuable Player described his international career which began in 2012 as “an unbelievable voyage”.
Although Diogu set no definite time frame for drawing the curtains on his career, he said he will reassess his options after the 2021 Afrobasket finals in Rwanda.
“I don’t have any time frame right now. Hopefully, I can play for another two years and see what happens. Let us see how the body is and how everything goes,” the former Golden State Warriors player said.
“I am closer to the end than the beginning but it has been an unbelievable ride. It has been an honour serving my country.”
Reminiscing on his career, Diogu who was part of the D’Tigers team to the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games wished he played with the likes of Julius Nwosu and Tunji Awojobi who inspired him to play for Nigeria.
“I wish I could start earlier and play with the likes of Julius Nwosu, Tunji Awojobi, Imeh Udoka because those were the people I looked up to.”
One of the longest-serving captains in D’Tigers history said he is not scared of calling it quits whenever his body tells him to because it has been a ‘mission accomplished’.
“I am not scared because it is mission accomplished. The national team is a brand now. I did everything I was supposed to do in the national team, raised the awareness to the ultimate level.
“People know about the team now. I get different messages from young Nigerian athletes asking how they can be a part of the national team and that has been my ultimate goal. So there is nothing to be scared of,” Diogu concluded.
Diogu was part of the 2015 FIBA Afrobasket gold medal-winning team before returning two years to win silver under Coach Alex Nwora in Tunisia and qualifying Nigeria for the now-postponed 2020 Olympics when they finished as the best African team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.