He played 172 times for the German national basketball team. Ademola Okulaja has died at the age of 46.
The German basketball world mourns the loss of former national team captain Ademola Okulaja (1975-2022): The basketball player and player advisor died unexpectedly on May 16 at the age of 46 in Berlin. The German Basketball Federation (DBB) announced this on its website on Tuesday.
“We are shocked and just can’t believe Ademola’s death. Our thoughts are now with his family, who we wish a lot of strength,” said DBB President Ingo Weiss (58) in a statement. Okulaja was “just as great a player as he was a person”. Weiss will miss the basketball player. “May he rest in peace,” it concludes. Nothing is known about the cause of death so far.
172 times in action for Germany
Okulaja wasn’t known as “Warrior” for nothing. In May 1995, aged just 19, he was promoted to the national squad and made his debut in Weert, The Netherlands. He probably celebrated his greatest success by winning the bronze medal at the 2022 World Championships in the USA alongside Dirk Nowitzki (43). In total, Okulaja was in action for the German national team a total of 172 times and captained the team for several years.
In the Bundesliga, Okulaja played for the teams Alba Berlin, Rhein Energie Köln and Brose Baskets Bamberg. With the Berliners he won the Korać Cup in 1995 and the championship in 2000.
In 2008, the native Nigerian missed the Olympic qualifying tournament in Athens and Beijing. The reason: A tumor was responsible for the fracture of a thoracic vertebra. In the spring of 2009 he announced his healing and resumed training. In 2010 he announced the end of his career.
He then worked as a player consultant for NBA star Dennis Schröder (28), Niklas Kiel and Daniel Theis (30), among others. He leaves behind his wife and two children.