Basketball in Nigeria dates back to the late 1950s when Walid Zabadnewas the first basketball coach to train Nigerians. The Syrian Club in Lagos had Nigeria's only basketball court at the time. Walid Zabadne continued to educate young Nigerians on how to play basketball.
When Nigeria's basketball association was formed, he led them to various African tournaments. Walid Zabadne has been dubbed the "Father of Nigerian Basketball" due to his role as the pioneer of basketball in Nigeria. It is also worth noting that Zabadne was eventually appointed President of the Nigerian Basketball Federation.
The blessing of this pioneering by Walid has led to the formation of numerous basketball teams in Nigeria. However, this article narrows down to the best five in the country. Sit tight and read along.
Related Read:Top 10 Best Football Academies In Algeria
The Rivers Hoopers
The Rivers Hoopers, often known as The Kingsmen, is a basketball team from Nigeria based in Port Harcourt, Rivers. The Hoopers acquired Ben Uzoh, a former NBA player, and Festus Ezeli to bolster the team before the inaugural BAL season. In the Nigerian Premier League, the team competes.
The Rivers Hoopers squad was founded in 2009 and has competed in the Premier League, with Ogoh Odaudu serving as the team's head coach. Hoopers have claimed four national championships, taking home victories in 2011, 2012, 2019, and 2021.
In 2011, the team earned its first NPL title.
Hoopers participated in the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Championship in December 2018 and won all five games to claim the championship title. They then competed in the 2019 Africa Basketball League in March.
The Hoopers defeated Raptors in the championship game to win their third Nigerian championship on November 17, 2019. This accomplishment made the squad eligible for the Basketball Africa League's debut season (BAL).
Nevertheless, Ezeli was injured before the season and could not join—hoopers, who narrowly edged out GNBC from Madagascar for third place in Group A of the BAL. Uzoh had 14.7 points overall to lead the team in scoring.
The Hoopers won the Premier League for the fourth time in 2021 by defeating Gombe Bulls in the championship game.
The league's MVP was named Anaiye Johnson. However, FIBA Africa rejected the Hoopers' request to participate in the BAL, arguing that the organized company was illegitimate.
Related Read:Top 10 Football Academies In Nigeria
One of Nigeria's basketball teams, the Kwara Falcons, is based in Ilorin, Kwara State. In 2013, the Kwara Falcons were promoted to the Premier League after winning the Division 1 Atlantic Conference. As a result, the Falcons avoided relegation in their maiden season in the top division.
The club placed third in the Atlantic Conference in 2015, trailing only notable players like Tunde El-Alawa, Baba Jubril, and Lanre Alimi. The Falcons advanced to the national championship semifinals in 2016 and 2017.
Kwara finished second in the Premier League in 2018, just behind Rivers Hoopers.
The Falcons won the 2022 season and their first-ever national championship on November 12, 2022. As a result, they automatically qualified for the Basketball Africa League's 2023 season (BAL). In addition, The Falcons roster was reinforced with the proliferation of AJ Wilson, Michael Kolawole, and Jeremiah Mordi.
A basketball team from Nigeria named the Kwara Falcons is headquartered in Ilorin, Kwara. The group competed in the Nigerian Premier League and claimed a title in 2022. The Falcons currently participate in the Basketball Africa League (BAL)
The team competes in the Kwara Stadium's indoor sports complex. The team's President, head coach, and captain are Aliu Jubrils, Baba Jubril, and Ajileye Seyi Gideon.
Related Read: Top 10 Basket Ball Teams In Africa With Ratings (Updated)
The Gombe Bulls are a professional basketball team from Nigeria established in Gombe state in 1985. The team plays also is one of the teams playing in the Nigerian Premier League,
The team competed in the 2017 FIBA Africa Clubs Champions Cup, marking its entry into the premier African continental league. The Bulls had a 2-5 record and placed 11th overall.
After defeating Kwara Falcons in the championship game, Gombe earned their first-ever Nigerian championship in 2018. They were also runners-up in 2017 at the Nigeria Premier league.
Kano Pillars Basketball Club
Nigerian basketball team Kano Pillars Basketball Club is situated in Kano. The group competes in the Nigerian Premier League and has recently won six titles. The group has regularly participated in the FIBA Africa Clubs Champions Cup, taking home bronze in 1985 and 1987.
Nigerian Premier League
- Champions (6): 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017
- Runners-up (2): 2012, 2015
- Fourth place: 2016
In African competitions
- FIBA Africa Clubs Champions Cup (9 appearances)
- 1985 – 3rd Place Bronze
- 1987 – 3rd Place Bronze
- 2005 – 5th Place
- 2010 – 5th Place
- 2012 – 9th Place
- 2013 – 9th Place
- 2015 – 7th Place
- 2016 – 4th Place
- 2017 – Preliminary Round
Related Read: Top 10 Best Basketball Training Centers In Africa
The Nigeria basketball team, Mark Mentors, is based in Abuja and was founded in 2012. The Mentors captured their first national title in 2015. The club intended to relocate from Abuja to Otukpo in 2018 to play in the Otukpo Indoor Sports Center once it is complete.
Nigeria Premier League:
- 2015 Champions
- 2013 and 2014 Runners-up