Former German basketball player Ademola Okulaja, who played for several Endesa League teams during his career, including FC Barcelona, has died at 46 years oldas confirmed by the German Basketball Federation.
“We are devastated and cannot believe Ademola’s death. Our thoughts are now with his family, whom we wish a lot of strength. Ademola was as great a player as he was a human being. I personally lost a great friend in basketball and will miss him dearly. We will always fondly remember Ademola, who fought and never gave up, who always left everything on the field. May he rest in peace,” DBB president Ingo Weiss said on the agency’s website.
Okulaja, of Nigerian origin, was one of the most outstanding basketball players in his country between the end of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century. He was capped by the German national team 172 times, playing alongside the star Dirk Nowitzki, and won the bronze medal in the 2002 World Cup from Indianapolis.
In addition, he had an extensive career, in which Spanish basketball played a leading role as he played for several clubs. Between 2000 and 2004 he was in Girona, in two stages, with FC Barcelona and Unicaja, while he also went through Valencia Basket and the Etosa Alicante.
“We are very sorry to hear the news of the passing of Ademola Okulaja, who played for our team last season. 2001-2002 and he was a legend of German basketball”, pointed out the Blaugrana club.
“From Unicaja Basketball we deeply regret the death of Ademola Okulaja, who defended our jersey during the season 2002/03. DEP”, said Unicaja, while Valencia Basket also joined “in pain” for this loss. “Ademola was part of our club in the season 2004-05, within a more than remarkable career in the world of basketball. Much encouragement to all his family and friends,” he said.
“Ademola Okulaja has passed away at the age of 46. The acb wants to send its most heartfelt condolences family and friends,” wrote the Association of Basketball Clubs.
The coach also showed his regret Triphon Poch, the first one he had in the ACB. “Shocked by the news of the death of Ademola Okulaja. I brought him to the ACB in Girona. tremendous positive energy. Great competitor. Funny. 20-10 each game. Tremendous impact on our team and his departure now. How sad. A hug to all those who love him,” he stressed.