Although Ugo Udezue is a successful NBA agent, currently representing Festus Ezeli and Andre Roberson, he will not be satisfied until he achieves something much more significant.
Udezue envisions himself as the leader of a basketball empire that will eventually compete with the NBA.
While talking to CNN, Ugo explained his plans to develop an African basketball brand that will grow enormously:
“I woke up one day and said, ‘I have to do something,'” he said. “Africa has the best talent in sports, look at, even Lebron James or Kevin Durant. Their lineage is from Africa.”
The businessman played college basketball for the University of Wyoming before trying his hand at player representation. He is now the CEO of the ABL – The African Basketball League. His objective is to promote the sport all over the continent and to find elite home-grown talent, allowing players the chance to play professionally in Africa and improving the standard of play in each country:
“The motivation is more about creating an opportunity for all those kids I see that are seven foot tall walking down the streets not doing anything,” he said. “I want to cultivate all our Lebron James and our Kevin Durants here in Africa for Africa. We have the talent.”
Currently, six teams play in the ABL, spread over four countries; this is just the beginning:
“In the next three years we’ll be in 20 countries in Africa,” Udezue said. “We want to create an opportunity for each individual franchise and each individual city to be a whole business entity that is profitable and can create jobs.”
Udezue knows that there will be challenges, but he feels as though the ABL can benefit countries such as Nigeria, where the economy could use a much-needed kick start:
“The NBA generates billions of dollars into the economy of the United States. Why can’t we do that here? Everybody claims they’re sports fans, invest in it! It’s a business,” he said.
He clearly wants to galvanize his home continent, using the sport that he knows and loves. Udezue seems steadfast in his determination to make the ABL work:
“Believe in Africa. Believe and don’t be frustrated with what’s going on. There’s going to be change, it’s coming. We’re going to do this here in Africa.”