By Trish Arab
The first time I met Josh Okogie he was 21 years old, playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves and coming off of the unprecedented NBA Hiatus caused by the outbreak of COVID19. We were at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, there was still no justice or peace for the likes of George Floyd or Brianna Taylor, and a conversation that was meant to be about Basketball, more specifically what the first two years in the NBA had been like for Josh, turned into a conversation on Social Justice, Equality, Overhauling our Education system, Immigration reform and the parallels between music on sheet paper, and a player on a court. If you want a good laugh, check out those early days of podcasting here at Tidal League, and go into the archives of "The Tidal League Podcast" (if nothing else, it's a good reminder of how far we've come)
Josh impressed me during that thirty minute talk - enough that I have followed him on his path over these past three years. So you’d better believe that when I heard he was sitting down with Theo and AJ for “Run You Race” I was going to have to listen in. In this week’s episode we hear another side to the story of Josh’s life. From humble beginnings in Nigeria, to his family winning a lottery that allowed them to immigrate to the US and the huge learning curve that came all of their ways, and how on one fateful day, a boy who had never known of a sport called basketball, tumbled upon tryouts for the team when we was meant to be at orientation. It was in this moment, that Josh fell in love with the game.
A love for ball, but more so for his mother, took him to Georgia Tech, where he ultimately was suspended from the team for allegedly accepting benefits and in only the way Theo can, the emotion and depth of that time comes shining through - with a few laughs as they reminisce on playing against each other in college. They cover Okogie’s tumultuous time with the Timberwolves where internally there was a constant flux and change within personnel and expected playing styles to now his experiences with the Phoenix Suns - how the reality of playing with the likes of Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Devin Booker really haven’t hit him yet. Chris even makes a guest appearance when Theo calls on him to confirm who is the best CP3 AAU team of all time! They cover Okogie’s break out moment guarding James Harden, and what it was like playing his first game against Kyrie Irving while he was BALLING and getting a “stop” to win the game.
Josh is one of those special players, and a perfect fit for this show - he’s a true example of someone who may have started late to the game, but is truly why it's important to always run your own race.
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