TORONTO - Speaking on the phone from the city of Yenagoa, in the southern Nigerian state of Bayelsa, Canadian Olympic legend Daniel Igali could hardly contain his excitement.
The freestyle wrestling gold medallist for Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics had just been informed that Masai Ujiri, a fellow native of Nigeria, had been named president and general manager of the Toronto Raptors. And he was over the moon.
“I’m elated,” said Igali. “I’m very happy for him, but also for Africa. I’m looking forward to talking with him.”
Ujiri felt the same way, asking a reporter if he could pass on Igali’s contact information so they could get connected.
There’s an obvious sense of pride when someone from your homeland, or home city, hits it big. But for Africans it’s more than that. Rising to a place of prominence is especially gratifying and important because it puts them in a position where they can make a difference.