“My motivation for me is them telling me what I could not be.” – Jay Z
Reggie is certainly a bright basketball player representative from Africa, even though he was born in the United States. He grew up in his parents’ homeland, Nigeria, up until he was 9-years old, with surrounding cousins and friends telling him that his height could be used as a huge asset on the basketball court.
That was when Okosa not only decided that he would become a basketball player, but a great one at that. Michael Jordan was the first influence on his game, as with many other athletes, but it was the great Hakeem Olajuwon who he attributes most with his learning of the game.
It was an easy decision for the 6’10 forward/center when Tanduay Alab Pilipinas approached him about a run in the ABL because Ivan Johnson had already signed with the team about a month prior. The two knew each other and certainly have respect for one another, so Reggie thought his partnership with Ivan could be a tough combo to stop in the league.
During their 2017-2018 ABL season opener in front of a hostile Mall of Asia Arena crowd, Reggie credits his outstanding performance to the energy that fans showed, despite losing to the defending champions, Hong Kong Eastern. He recalls and acknowledges that it was a precious opportunity to play at such a top-class arena, and especially playing for a huge group of passionate fans in the Philippines.
Unlike the majority of leagues that Reggie has played in before, the ABL essentially acts as a country-versus-country based regional league. That notion makes this particular league more than just a game. It’s extends to pride and boiling rivalries at the national level and that’s what makes the ABL unique.
As Reggie describes, it is truly an honor for him to don Alab’s jersey and represent the Philippines in such a competitive league, although he is not Filipino. The intensity between teams, or rather, countries, motivates him to train and work harder every day.
To fight for the people of the country.
Reggie, standing at 6-feet, 10-inches, easily noticeable and thrown into the spotlight when he walks in the streets or shopping malls regardless of he wants to be the guest of honor or remain low-key. Arriving in the Philippines just about a month or so ago, he can already feel the love and support from fans everywhere he goes.
Sometimes, when he goes grocery shopping, people, even those whom are working will shop along with him, talking about basketball until he leaves the shop. For Reggie, it’s all the love that Filipinos have in basketball which makes his trip to and stay in the Philippines all the more meaningful.
Both Reggie and Ivan have played against each other in the Korean Basketball League (KBL) before, so their friendship is as solid as one could imagine. As a new guy on the roster, the team has welcomed him with open arms, especially Josh Urbiztondo, who checks-in on him on a regular basis, providing assistance towards his adaptation into the culture.
However, Reggie also mentions that the traffic in Manila is simply too busy; that it doesn’t allow many team-bonding outing opportunities, but he knows they’ll continue growing their chemistry during practices nonetheless.
As a seasoned veteran who has played in multiple major leagues around Asia, Okosa is not afraid of anyone, nor any team in the league. The journeyman is very confident that his skill-set can complement the team, going as far as to reference Andray Blatche as a prime example of what his play style can do for Alab, so fans from the ABL can put high expectations on him with his own bar already being set pretty high.
Furthermore, Reggie is motivated to compete against anyone that claims to be the best in the league. He embraces tough competition with the belief that it’s a requirement in deciding who really is the best.
Can you feel his determination and fearless mentality yet?
As a closing remark to the fans, Reggie would like to let all the fans know that he is genuinely happy and blessed to have this rare opportunity to showcase his experience and talents in the ABL for a Philippines-based club. Do expect him to leave it all on the court every game. He is a fighter, a winner, and most importantly, it’s “Okosa Time” that fans will enjoy throughout the course of the season.