vwo: 6ft9in giant ‘made by God’ toplay b’ball

By Daily Sports Nigeria on November 1, 2023

If you are well over 6ft in height, you would have been asked multiple times if you play basketball. This was the case of Lewis Uvwo before he fell in love with the sport.

Standing at 6ft9in, the teenager was used to replying in the negative when asked this question time and again by strangers and family alike.

Uvwo told PUNCH Sports Extra about his journey into basketball, which began last February and has how become his life.

“Actually people around me inspired me to play basketball because there are times I will just be walking on the road and someone I don’t know will come to me and say ‘Come, are you playing basketball?’ I always told them no and one day, one man said I must play basketball, saying it would take me to places. So, I went to my dad and told him and he was like, ‘With the way people are talking, let me just take you to training’ and that’s how I started playing basketball.

“Now, it’s my life. There is hardly a moment I don’t think about basketball, it’s just as if basketball is my food. if I don’t touch basketball it’s like I’m not okay,” Uvwo said.

Starting basketball when he was a month away from turning 15, the Delta native admitted he found it difficult undertaking the easiest task — bouncing the ball.

“Actually when I started out, putting the ball on the ground was a nightmare because I always thought they were going to steal it from me but the first day I put the ball on the ground was when we were playing full court in training.

“I received the ball and the next thing I heard was ‘bounce it, bounce it’ and I did and the next thought that entered my mind was, ‘wow, so this is how easy it is.’ And then I was just driving and suddenly I pulled up and dunked on someone, that was the best day of my life because I never thought I would handle the ball the way I did it that day,” he told PUNCH Sports Extra.

For a lad who lives in the Maza-Maza area of Lagos State, embarking on the long journey to and from the National Stadium in Surulere for training on a daily basis can be tasking, due to the soaring economic crisis in the country.

“My house is far from the stadium, so transportation is really hard, that’s why I don’t go to training every day like today (Tuesday) I didn’t go because of the hike in transport fare.

“I can only go on the days my mum or dad go there or give me money for transport plus feeding, which costs about N2,000 per day.”

The teenage centre’s progression has been amazing. He was invited to the U-16 national team in April, just two months after he started playing the game. He was then among the three Nigerian players who made the FIBA Africa Youth Camp in September.

“It was my coach Charles Ibeziako that helped me, I was not expecting it. One day he told me I was going for a camp in Mali, that was the first time I entered an aeroplane. Even when I was playing for the national U-16 team, we did not travel by air, we went to Ghana by bus, so, going to Mali by plane was my first time ever,” he told PUNCH Sports Extra.

“The camp was really good, though I fumbled in the beginning, but it got to a stage where I started getting myself, I had never been to that kind of place, so, I was scared of making mistakes but I made up for it with my great defence. If you try to score on me 10 times, I will stop you seven or eight times.”

There have also been sad times for the towering basketball player as he tries to navigate his way to the height of the game. One of such cases was during a competition in April, when he was “broken” after a game.

“We were losing the game by one point in the last 10 seconds of the game and I won the defensive rebound and then I saw my teammate running for a fast break and I just threw the ball to him, I did not follow him because I was sure he would score and the next thing I saw was someone taking the ball from him and I was just broken and very sad and dejected. All of us were not happy that day,” Uvwo said.

Now, the up-and-coming prospect, who plays for Raptors Academy, says his goals are just to play the game and achieve success.

“I just want to play basketball, I want to grow and make it, hopefully to the NBA. I know basketball can make me achieve a lot for myself and my family if I work hard,” he told PUNCH Sports Extra.

Goddy, Uvwo’s father, believes his son was made by God to play basketball.

“I always supported him, from the moment he started. I am the one that took him to the stadium the first day. Anywhere he goes, people are always asking us if he played basketball, so, I took him to the stadium and that was where we met coach Charles.

“I am seeing the progress he is making every day and he has already achieved a lot in a few months, so, I believe God made him to play basketball,” Goddy said.




Source Punch Ng

Posted November 1, 2023


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