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FACT CHECK: Is Peter Obi’s claim that Nigeria has about 100 players in NBA true?

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the forthcoming 2023 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has claimed that out of 150 players playing in the…

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the forthcoming 2023 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has claimed that out of 150 players playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA), almost 100 are Nigerians.

Obi made the claim on Monday while responding to questions on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today.

He said, “…proud, celebrating their talent. And this is what we have everywhere. If you go into American NBA, out of 150 players, almost 100 are Nigerians. These youths are so talented that they are where you need to focus to reach their talent and productive energy to turn around the country…”

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The NBA is a professional basketball league in the North America. The league is composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada) and is one of the major professional sports league in the United States and Canada. It is the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world.

The league was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946, as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). It changed its name to the National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the National Basketball League (NBL). The NBA’s regular season runs from October to April, with each team playing 82 games.

The NBA originated in 1946 with 11 teams, and through a sequence of team expansions, reductions and relocations currently consists of 30 teams.

The teams include Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic and Miami Heat.


Findings show that training camps allow the coaching staff to evaluate players (especially rookies), scout the team’s strengths and weaknesses, prepare the players for the rigorous regular season and determine the 12-man active roster (and a 3-man inactive list) with which they will begin the regular season.

This means that each team comprises 15 players which translates to 450 players for all the 30 teams. This number negates the claim by Mr. Obi that the NBA has 150 players.

Available data has also shown that as of the 2021/2022 season, Canada has produced the most foreign NBA players, with 56. From European countries, France has produced 40 players, and Serbia has produced 30. From Oceania, Australia has produced 30 players while New Zealand has produced 3 players.

From African countries, Nigeria and Senegal have produced 29 and 12 players respectively. From Latin American countries, Brazil has produced 18 players, while Argentina and Puerto Rico have produced 16 players each.

From Asian countries, China, Japan and Lebanon have produced 6, 5 and 4 players respectively. Among transcontinental countries, Turkey, Russia and Georgia have produced 14, 13 and 11 players respectively.

In total, 83 players have come from the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia) and 55 players have come from the former Soviet Union (Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine).

Sieving through records, it is established that Nigeria currently has about 10 players in the NBA.


Relying on available data, Daily Trust can confirm that Nigeria does not have about 100 players in the NBA as claimed by Peter Obi. In fact, no country or continent has produced up to that number since the inception of the league. Therefore, the claim by Obi is false in its entirety.


This fact check was done in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)

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