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Gabe Vincent reveals Team Nigeria’s reaction after beating Team USA in Olympics tuneup

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Nigeria men’s basketball team handed Team USA an upset in an exhibition match before the Tokyo Olympics. Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent revealed the team’s reaction after the surprise win. 

Locker room reaction

Vincent was a guest on his teammate Duncan Robinson’s podcast, “The Long Shot,” and shared what the locker room scene was like after the surprise 90-87 Tokyo Olympics exhibition game win. 

“We win the game right? That was crazy enough. I go back to the locker room after a little post game interview on the court side. And I’m expecting to walk into music and dacing and like water everywhere. Guys were just sitting there, chilling. Just like it’s a regular Tuesday like we didn’t beat the quote-unquote best team in the world.”

Gabe Vincent, ">The Long Shot

The Nigerian team was no pushover. They had eight NBA players lined up. But any team would still be underdogs against the USA men’s basketball.

  • Precious Achiuwa (Heat)
  • Caleb Agada
  • Obi Emegano
  • Chimezie Metu (Kings)
  • Ike Nwamu
  • Jordan Nwora (Bucks)
  • Jahlil Okafor (Pistons)
  • Josh Okogie (Timberwolves)
  • KZ Okpala (Heat)
  • Miye Oni (Jazz)
  • Ekpe Udoh
  • Gabe Vincent (Heat)

Team USA lost its invincibility cloak in the exhibition games before the Olympics. They failed to Nigeria and Australia, and with each loss, cracks started to show in the once-vaunted Team USA composed of NBA stars. Their loss against France in the opening game sent shockwaves across the basketball universe.

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Many have written them off, saying the roster wasn’t enough, the players haven’t won together, or Coach Gregg Popovich needed to retire. It wasn’t glamourous or as dominating as other gold medal campaigns of USA men’s basketball, but they achieved their goal - to bring home the trophy. 

Olympics performance translated to the NBA

The reality is a lot of guys on the Nigerian national team were still waiting for their shot in the NBA. Minutes are hard to come by, so we didn't have a sample size to understand their potential. They made sure we realized they were more than bench warmers.

Vincent played well for Nigeria national team, and it certainly caught the eyes of the scouts watching. His performance earned him more minutes in the Heat. From playing just nine games in his rookie year, the point guard played 50 games last season. 

This year, he elevated his game with career-highs in points, steals, assists, blocks, and rebounds. Vincent has played 48 games and is expected to exceed the games he appeared in last year. He grabbed the opportunity and played well with the world watching.

With the rise in the NBA's global popularity, we've gotten the Embiids and Antetokounmpos, increasing the talent pool for the Association. Team USA got a lot more competition, and it will only become stronger in years to come. We have a Serbian MVP, two years before that the MVP was from Greece (coming from Nigeria), and the favorite for MVP this season was Slovenian.

The days of penciling in the gold are at their end.

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