Delaware 87ers C Emeka Okafor has played basketball on the big stage his whole life. He won a national title at UCONN and went on to be the 2nd overall pick(Charlotte Bobcats) in 2004 NBA Draft. From there, he went on to be a productive player in the NBA. Okafor averaged a double-double in his first five seasons in the league, which led to him getting a six-year, $72 million deal with the Charlotte Bobcats(Hornets) back in 2008.
After his 2012-13 season with the Wizards, Okafor was forced to sit out because of a herniated disk in his neck. Four years later, Okafor is back. The 35-year-old center was with the Philadelphia 76ers during training camp and the preseason. Ultimately, he was waived, but he would eventually sign with Philly’s G League affiliate the Delaware 87ers.
During his time away from the NBA, the nine-year veteran missed the NBA and is working tirelessly to get another shot.
“I missed it every day,” Okafor said after the 87ers’ 112-110 loss to the Long Island Nets on Friday night. “When I first got injured, trying to get back. My goal was to come back, and that’s what I am attempting to do.”
Even though Okafor would like to be in the NBA, he is enjoying his time in the G-League. Now, he is getting a different look at NBA life.
“It’s different. It’s a different perspective,” Okafor said. “I’m getting a different education of the backside of the NBA. I think it’s making me just fleshing out my basketball experience. It’s making me wiser; I’m enjoying it.”
Okafor said that his body is feeling right, and he believes he can help an NBA team:
“I can get up and down the floor. I can rebound, I can defend. I have good hands around the rim,” explained Okafor. “I can shoot, not quite threes, yet. But I can shoot the ball. I think I have a lot to offer.”
Currently, Okafor is averaging 6.8 PPG and 7.5 RPG in 22 games with the 87ers.
Okafor seemed to be in good spirits, and still has a lot of confidence in his ability to play the NBA game. He’s made a bunch of money in the NBA, so this is clearly about the love of the game.
I say keep playing until you can’t play anymore!
Listen to our interview with Okafor below: