The Punch

Nwora, Ogwumike, others slam ESPN’S Smith over D’tigers rant

- Kelvin Ekerete

D’TIGERS stars Jordan Nwora, Precious Achiuwa, Stan Okoye, Josh Okoye and D’tigress power forward Chinenye Ogwumike have slammed popular ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith following his rant on ESPN’S

“First Take” after Nigeria upset the United States 90-87 in an exhibition game on Sunday.

Team USA, favourites to win gold in the men’s basketball event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, suffered a shock loss to the Nigerians in Las Vegas, with the West Africans scoring 60 points from the three-point line, which led to scathing criticisms of the world and Olympic champions.

In his reaction to the loss, Smith, an African-american, made remarks which the Nigerian stars termed derogatory, disrespect­ful and unprofessi­onal.

“There’s no excuse to lose to Nigeria,” Smith said on ESPN,

before tweeting the clip out himself. “To lose to some dude Gabe Nnamdi, who goes by Gabe Vincent for the miami heat. Or Caleb Agada. Or Nma ... however the hell you pronounce his name.”

Reacting to Smith’s comments, Minnesota Timberwolv­es shooting guard, Josh Okogie, tagged them as disrespect­ful, while Precious Achiuwa of the miami heat referred to them as “unprofessi­onal.”

“You can critique the other team without disrespect­ing us. Put some respect on the flag and the mother land! Don’t forget where your ancestors came from,” Okogie tweeted.

Nwora said, “Stephen A offended Ohtani and Nigeria. In his apology to Ohtani, he identified as “African American”. Don’t claim the culture if you want to disrespect it. If you can say Krzyzewski, you can say Agada. Unprofessi­onal, period.”

“Most disrespect­ful thing I’ve heard in a while. Stephen Smith is violating over 200 million Nigerians with statements like this. Those three men that he mentioned worked way too hard to be dismissed like that. Say our names properly or don’t say them at all,” 2015 Afrobasket winner Stan Okoye tweeted.

WNBA star and ESPN pundit, Chinenye Ogwumike, advised Smith to learn how to properly pronounce African names.

“As someone who has seen Mr. Smith’s daily grind, I have so much respect for my ESPN

fam... But as a proud Nigerianam­erican, whose name gets mispronoun­ced daily, we have to do better. Our names have beautiful meaning and should be celebrated,” Ogwumike tweeted.

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