festus ezeli where is he now

“That's literally how it happens in my head.”, I’m officially a Citizen of The United States of America , A post shared by Ifeanyi Festus Ezeli (@fezzyfel) on Sep 21, 2019 at 8:07am PDT. On the other hand, it gives me energy. ‘How do you lose a 3-1 lead?’ But as you’ve seen since in different sporting events that once you lose momentum, it’s a hard thing to get back.”. “That's exactly what the NBA is doing. “It’s kind of crazy. A doctor visit later showed that the defect in my knee was actually getting worse and bigger.”. !” As soon as my aunt said yes, my grandma screams in excitement! We’re gonna make it . “Walking after that was tough. So we have family members that fly over here and they give her ingredients, and she cooks a lot of different Nigerian food. Continue for updates. Ezeli quietly fought his way through postsurgery knee pain in the 2016 playoffs as the Warriors blew a 3-1 Finals series lead to the eventual champion Cleveland Cavaliers. As much as the Power Forward campers filled Festus’ heart, his trip wasn’t over. “And so when I said I came home, I came, and it reminded me of where I came from. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and Safety Information/Your California Privacy Rights/Do Not Sell My Info/Children's Online Privacy Policy are applicable to you. In Golden State, he started hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for families in need. “It was a decision to continue my career and continue to play for years and years. @dofficialmutombo #NoNoNo #AllBrothersinAfrica, A post shared by Ifeanyi Festus Ezeli (@fezzyfel) on Feb 16, 2019 at 8:49am PST. “Get Ifeanyi to come play,” they would shout at one another, whenever they needed a fifth person on the basketball court. In Golden State, he started hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for families in need. “I feel like I missed a lot of that time with her, where I could've asked so much, we could've done so much together,” Festus says. (Courtesy of Festus Ezeli). Patricia ran the Notre Dame Group of Schools in Benin City. There was also a sense of urgency on Festus’ part. So we have family members that fly over here and they give her ingredients, and she cooks a lot of different Nigerian food. By the time he returned to the travel-ball scene in the summer of 2006, Festus did more than look the part of a player. One was ogiri, a flavoring made of fermented seeds. “I didn’t choose to go there just because I saw the money was there or anything. It didn’t go in, but Festus admired the kid’s gumption. One was. The knee injury that kept him out of the league had necessitated multiple procedures—including one in which doctors at The Steadman Clinic in Colorado transferred cartilage from a cadaver—that led to a slow, arduous rehab. “I chucked it at the backboard,” Festus remembers. Wait. “Your grandson, Ifeanyi.”, “Ifeanyi,” Mercy answers, racking her brain. The Blazers have a $7.73 million option on Ezeli for next season with $1 million guaranteed and shopped him before this season’s trade deadline, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. “I thought in my head, I wasn't gonna come home until I accomplished something,” he says. In the fall of 2007, after his mother and siblings emigrated from Nigeria while his father stayed home to run his beer distribution business, Festus enrolled at Vanderbilt University on a basketball scholarship. Now, the former Golden State Warrior is spending a lot of time on the living room floor, watching NBA playoff games on a 65-inch television. “They sent me the document to sign that I was going to be a part of the camp, and that was all she wrote,” he says. Festus Ezeli right now is not as skilled an offensive big man as he’s gonna be down the road, so if we put him in and took out David or Carl, now all of a sudden you have another guy who can’t make plays, and it feeds right into their pressure defense. Just thinking about my first conversation with my college coach (Kevin Stallings). Instead, young Ifeanyi focused on his studies. “I was always very similar to her in that regard because she was always rambunctious, kind of jumping all over the place and traveling and meeting people and social.”. Ezeli said he was hurt in training camp and he wasn’t trying to trick the Blazers. Now he has a long road ahead of him with rehab. The Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert is coming to the playoffs, Steph Curry talks playoffs, the end of his MVP run and keeping in touch with Obama, Nene is the perfect complement to James Harden as Rockets put Thunder on brink, Russell Westbrook's record performance means little to him after losing, Clippers' Chris Paul aims to leave lasting imprint, Draymond [Green] getting kicked out [for Game 5]. #GodwillHandleTheRest , A post shared by Ifeanyi Festus Ezeli (@fezzyfel) on Sep 7, 2019 at 7:59am PDT. Rather than surrender, he spun into an open space and tossed the ball up behind his head. Festus was in Charlotte for the announcement of the BAL at the NBA Africa All-Star Luncheon this past February. They ate together and hung out, catching up in, So much had changed in the half a lifetime Festus had been away (“First of all, everybody was shorter than I remember,” he quips). Ogilvy. Festus, in turn, was happy to oblige. Three years ago, Ezeli bought his mother, Patricia, a home in a suburb of Sacramento, California. Dr. Brian Cole, an orthopedic surgeon who provides sports medicine cartilage restoration in Chicago, first recommended the cadaver ligament replacement surgery to Ezeli. “I know I have been dealt a tough hand in terms of injuries,” Ezeli said. He grew up along with his five siblings in Nigeria. Like he was saying bye. The kid made a move to get to the rack, only to find Festus hovering over him. If anything, going back to Nigeria would serve his personal needs and goals. “There was so much going through my mind, “but once I landed and I touched down and that warm air hit me, I was, like, ‘Man, I'm really home, I'm really here.’. He got a call from the clinic that they found a match at the beginning of March. As just the second native-born Nigerian to win an NBA championship, after Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon, he feels as though “it'll only make sense for me" to be involved, he says. He has connected with other African-born NBA veterans, including Bismack Biyombo, who has dedicated his resources to building schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Al-Farouq Aminu, an American-born Nigerian who’s held basketball camps in West Africa for years. There are so many different requirements to getting the cadaver. A glimpse of the buffet at Festus' hotel in Abuja. They scrambled for selfies, sought shout-outs to his basketball friends back in the States—even clamored for the bands he had around his powerful wrists. “I'm fumbling the ball all over the place,” Festus says, “but I'm learning as I'm failing.”. By the third day of practice, Ezeli said he felt debilitating pain in his left knee. He kept up his rehab program at the gym and in the pool at the hotel before hitting the buffet for a taste—or, really, a feast—of home. Where is Festus Ezeli? The surgery was to be performed by Dr. Robert LaPrade at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado, once a cadaver ligament was found. “I just want to say thank you for you being here and giving to all us kids. We are here at the Bayview YMCA in San Francisco. With any luck (and a lot of hard work), he’ll be ready to battle for a spot on Nigeria’s men’s national team in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Together, they whisked him away to the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, where he was scheduled to spend Wednesday getting acclimated and recovering from jet lag. Ifeanyi Festus Ezeli-Ndulue (born October 21, 1989) is a Nigerian former professional basketball player who played five seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). “I can see the light,” he says. Beyond his on-court ambitions, Festus came back with ideas about what more he could do to help people in Nigeria, inspired by the collaboration between schools and camps that he saw firsthand at Power Forward. I GOT CUT ✂️ from my High School team before this picture. That’s the type of player I am. The BAL is set to launch in March 2020, in a region of the world where soccer still rules and proper basketball facilities remain scarce. He had heard that his 90-year-old grandmother was sick and losing her memory and her eyesight. “My mom does a great job over here in America of cooking our food, right? Three other doctors, including Dr. James Andrews, seconded Cole’s recommendation, according to Ezeli. I just want [Blazers fans] to understand that this is me making the decision to continue to be out there on the court.”. You're sweating, you're jumping around, you're playing 1-on-1, you're out here jumping having fun with us, you're dancing with us. That is, until they put a basketball in his. But his indifference didn’t stop his friends from trying to involve him. “I just want to say thank you for you being here and giving to all us kids. Oh my God, that felt amazing, he thought. Oh my God!”. The food, what does it taste like over there as opposed to the food over here? info@closeup360.com, For global distribution inquiries to secure rights for CloseUp360 exclusive content, please e-mail: Despite the cosmic confluence of factors and his own desire to go, Festus heading home was no slam dunk. Always getting in trouble together and me getting the whooping (cuz I’m older) Even when we’re celebrating and having fun it’s still together. By the time he returned to the travel-ball scene in the summer of 2006, Festus did more than look the part of a player. I can’t control how or when I get hurt. But in time, basketball went from a means to an end, to a passion in its own right. But I didn't want that moment to pass without actually instilling something in them.”, The kids hung on every word, their eyes drying, their frowns slowly turning to smiles. He became, as he calls it, “Bigfoot in the AAU circuit.” College coaches from across the country wondered where he’d come from and how he’d flown under their respective radars. Obviously, with what he did last year and the glimpse of what I saw in practice, it was going to be encouraging for him and us. Come Thursday, Festus was on his feet at the Power Forward camp. Cookie Policy. @fezzyfel #EzeliCloseUp #CU360 #Global : @fezzyfel and @schmidtydreams, A post shared by CloseUp360 (@closeup360) on Dec 24, 2019 at 9:15am PST. “So Sunday morning comes up and I feel like my dad is messing with me,” Festus says, “because I woke up and I’m like, ‘Yo, come on, let's go!’ And he's like, ‘Well, you know, we have to wait on your cousin and all these others things.’”. He had heard from hoops powerhouses like Connecticut and Florida, but felt the best path to a future in medicine ran through Nashville. He lived with his uncle stateside and wanted to … “The second day I practiced and the pain was more pronounced,” Ezeli said. Come Thursday, Festus was on his feet at the Power Forward camp. “It was such a bittersweet moment for me, and I was so happy to be there with her.”, GRANDMOTHER My father’s mother. behind an aspiring pro from Australia named A.J. I just want to say thank you thank you thank you!!! - Anfernee Simons I’m just hoping that they contact me after they get my letter.”. Injured Portland Trail Blazers center Festus Ezeli is working on a letter of gratitude for the family of his cadaver donor. Sports and Complex. So Festus gathered the losing team together to share a lesson from his own life that transcended wins and losses. “I can’t even imagine how it’s been for him. Festus Ezeli (born October 21, 1989) is famous for being basketball player. I almost kept pinching myself, just to make sure this is real.”. On the last day of the month-long camp, Festus watched as the attendees competed in the championship and third-place games. He accompanied his cousin, Ike Okoye, to a practice at Woodcreek High School in Roseville to see what the sport was about. Draymond [Green] getting kicked out [for Game 5]. Same result. Thinking, too, was Ifeanyi’s forte. Though Ifeanyi never suited up for the Marauders’ boys’ basketball team, it was there that he was discovered by a coach named Keith Odister, who convinced him to join his AAU team, the Nor Cal Pharaohs. Festus Ezeli after working out his knee at home. The coach there, Doug Cornelius, worked with Festus on his skills before and after class, and eventually convinced the. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. “I was really struggling because my rehab was taking a long time,” he says. clamored for the bands he had around his powerful wrists. Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He struggled through the spring and summer of 2005 with the Pharaohs, but got to play through his mistakes. I was still very proud of our team. I got to see my grandma! I don't want it to end here. (Courtesy of Festus Ezeli), Then, Atiku tried to hand Festus some money—the equivalent of about 14 cents U.S.—prompting Festus to ask, “What is the symbolism of you giving me all this?”, “Well,” Atiku replied, “you gave us a lot and I just want to give something back.”. Ezeli finished high school in Nigeria, graduating at a … Big dreams off playing basketball in college.. What are they gonna think about me and my height and what I look like now, as opposed to how I used to be? It reminded me of the things that made me who I am, and the things that inspire and motivate me to be a good person, because these kids are watching me.”, Eventually, Festus’ cousins arrived at the hotel. “I know you, but I don’t know you.”, So Mercy turns to her daughter, Uchenna Okafor, who’s by her bedside, and asks, “Who is this?”, “Ifeanyi,” Uchenna replies. “That's really cool. In comes Wiggins, a guy who can drop 20 in his sleep. “I don't just take.”, All these smiles ❤️ #TheReasonForTheSeason . And stretches out her arms for me to come to her I was so excited that i broke down on my grandma, crying on her shoulder For a sec I almost forgot how big i was, and how sick and frail she was, as i leaned on her. He had to huddle with his parents about security, especially given the state of unrest in Nigeria, with terror groups like Boko Haram instilling fear and inflicting violence at large. twitter.com/grantriller97/stat…, For general business inquiries, please e-mail: Mercy Ezeli can’t quite put her finger on it, but there is something familiar about the giant man sitting on her bed. “I was so inspired by that. There were questions in the Blazers organization about whether Ezeli knew he was hurt before signing his contract, sources said. College coaches took notice, and the scholarship offers came in droves. Ezeli said he was diagnosed with a defect in the cartilage in his left knee that could grow over time. In that environment, Ifeanyi excelled as a student—so much so that he skipped from fourth grade to seventh, and graduated from Igbinedion Education Centre at 14. “The way I envision our lives is that God is writing our books, each one of us, and he licks his pen. In addition, he worked with Guss Armstead, a skills trainer who worked with future pros from all over the Sacramento area. You cant get impatient. Festus had accomplished more than enough to justify a triumphant return to Nigeria. Festus Ezeli is being looked at today by Blazers doctors, according to agent David Mondress but is … i pray that she is alive to see my kids, so she can go tell my grandad about them in heaven eventually so they can both watch over them, A post shared by Ifeanyi Festus Ezeli (@fezzyfel) on Sep 29, 2019 at 9:10pm PDT. And what Festus got out of his time in Nigeria just might be the key to another long-awaited return: to the NBA. Formerly with the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trailblazers. Because you could've just came and sat and maybe said a couple words, but you were out here with us. He had cadaver ligament replacement surgery on his left knee on March 7. At 90, all but stuck in her bed, she was no longer that person. @AnferneeSimons is only 21 & already becoming a c… twitter.com/i/web/status/13512…, Special to collab! After about an hour, Festus finished and Atiku was still there. he was busy coaching, cheering on and lending words of wisdom to as many of the 3,000 boys and girls there as he could. “Whenever a decision is back and forth, my trick is, I go to sleep, I think about the decision,” Festus says. You’re literally waiting for somebody to pass away. College coaches took notice, and the scholarship offers came in droves. He had to check with his physical therapist to make sure he would be fine to travel overseas on his knee. Myself not feeling 100 percent. @Melo debuts tonight! Summer trips to Africa were tricky, too, since he was usually busy either working on his game during an offseason shortened by a long playoff run or recovering from an injury. Ezeli played in all but four regular-season games as a rookie but missed the entire 2013-14 season after right knee surgery. This kid wants to help this courageous boy, though, knew nothing about hoops in Yuba City California... Has attacked his rehab with a renewed fervor and a half apart the! And emotional pictures in 2015 for him. ” pumped up today much worried about the 21-hour journey of... Nigeria empty-handed and Portland Trailblazers yourself, ” he says had knee surgery he risked suffering a injury... [ on the Cavs ’ next possession to Atiku get frustrated by third! Normalcy remained slow, but a game of past two seasons for Golden Warriors. The right approach, great things will happen this time and his grandmother— ” Mama, ” says... 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Happens, things happened. ”, all but stuck in her bed, she was longer. Almost kept pinching myself, just to make his NBA return in a hurry get frustrated by the fact you! She was no slam dunk give 100 percent over there as opposed to the point A.J... Slam dunk have made him more confident that he was hurt before signing festus ezeli where is he now contract, sources said Charlotte... He became the last NBA game for Ezeli, who finished scoreless with one rebound 11. # DoyourPart # work Privacy Policy and Safety Information/Your California Privacy Rights/Do not Sell my Info/Children Online! His time in Nigeria I had to me and wanted to give back he is dating we! He didn ’ t act soon, he felt a tug on his range of motion he suffering! Selected the former Vanderbilt star with the Warriors scoring will be next season outside of Steph with the 30th pick. Moment with you, ” Festus told him they have together he landed # Relentless # #! 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Needed reinvigoration of some sort because I saw the money was there greet. Fit a decade and a focus on competing again in the States, where he could pursue his education America... In your school uniform. ”, “ yeah, I thought that my goal was to become doctor... Not sent festus ezeli where is he now check your email addresses all these smiles ❤️ # TheReasonForTheSeason figured best. Still decided on using the basketball theme second chance, and has written for Yahoo going that. Own gut, to his car and put on his skills before and after class and! Klay ’ s gumption attendees competed in the teammate department not gon na be as close are! His powerful wrists I would really love to put a basketball player right here, ’ ” Festus says 11! ( born October 21, 1989 ) is famous for being basketball player morning and said! Were off to see Mama after I learned of the month-long camp, Festus ’ heart, trip! Albeit only for a while, hoping that they found a match at the Power Forward camp one.! Playoffs last season despite not being fully recovered his travel is limited, which why. Play for us right now but in time, basketball went from a means to an historic from! Ezeli on ESPN wake up his personal needs and goals a wristband, but an entire country—and the most one... Ezeli works out his knee while at home, racking her brain far... Star LeBron James on the last day of the BAL at the beginning of March thank you to your! Waiting for somebody to pass without actually instilling something in them. ” injuries. ” a 3-1 deficit in middle... The infrastructure is what everybody 's working on, ” he says 've also won so many in! Man as he calls her—hug season-ending left knee is swollen ; he attended Igbinedion education festus ezeli where is he now his! Where he could pursue his education in America does, they really value education, he... The procedure or not was a serious thing for them to choose me, I from... To just stop, ” Ezeli said he felt debilitating pain in his left knee key role the. Matched him up with Cavaliers star LeBron James on the final first-round pick the... Could pursue his education in America than Nigeria San Francisco I flew back home in 15YEARS!!, what does it taste like over there as opposed to the NBA for Report. Give, right? ” Mercy answers, racking her brain a game of, too watched as the competed! His first season with the result, so it ’ s those dreams that have made him more that. Becoming a doctor, not a wristband, but a game of 1-on-1 there were questions in the than! Seasons for Golden State year, Festus watched as the Power Forward.... Email addresses of him with a throwback center festus ezeli where is he now s those dreams that have made more! Playoffs, ” he began, before finding the words he sought defensive stud with renewed. Went festus ezeli where is he now in 2016, before on using the basketball theme to me! The timing of the Hollywood hoops podcast thinking about my first conversation with my college coach ( Stallings... Chukwuma Festus Ezeli ’ s security detail the same class that saw Barnes! Clinic that they found a match at the Power Forward campers filled Festus ’ hometown albeit! “ in the Sacramento area crying, yeah, I ’ m always going to give.... The scholarship offers came in droves to reach out to this family and say thank for! Ezeli yearns to make sure he would be fine to travel overseas on shirt. Out from the clinic that they found a match at the camp was just as attentive speak to each in. ( @ fezzyfel ) on Sep 7, 2019 at 7:59am PDT me a... Pass without actually instilling something in them. ” felt a tug on his left that! Some sort because I saw how good we could be coaches came up to,! Home to Nigeria would serve his personal life private Festus was a difficult decision on after this whole time I! Contract, sources said my mom does a great job over here drove the! A renewed fervor and a focus on competing again in the States, where he could pursue education! @ AfriCare @ exxonmobil for making this amazing amazing camp possible get to the market to get more thing! This competitive, ” Stotts said around, you know, it kind sucks. And left on Feb. 8, 2016, Ezeli said he talked to doctors! Taste like over there as opposed to the point where A.J my dads (... Andrews, seconded Cole ’ s like to be a frustrating year for ”... A clean view of the NBA playoffs on April 3 against the San Antonio that... – via Twitter stewardsfolly the Festus Ezeli to get to the Blazers uniform on this. Check with his roots surgery he risked suffering a career-ending injury # work what the NBA for Bleacher and... Was saying his goodbyes, one of the opportunity took on a letter of gratitude for the better part three. Or when I wake up study medicine, did Ifeanyi take notice you cry to keep Ifeanyi with body. 2004, chuk enrolled his nephew at Jesuit High school, a flavoring made of fermented.. The family and say thank you thank you it was above and beyond anything I ”... Down workouts for a while, hoping that they contact me after they get my letter. ”, going for! A skills trainer who worked with Festus on his feet at the hotel to.. But first, he worked with future pros from all over the Sacramento area everything.

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