Okafor doesn’t give up, signs in D-league in hopes for NBA comeback


emeka-okafor-sixersEmeka Okafor just doesn’t give up. Have to give him credit for that. After his NBA career was derailed by a heavy injury, he has been trying to come back to the NBA.

Prior to the beginning of the 2017-2018 NBA season, Okafor saw limited playing time with the Philadelphia Sixers in the pre-season.

What followed was Okafor agreeing to play for the 76ers’ G League team, the Delaware 87ers, in hopes of signing with an NBA team in the coming months, league sources told ESPN.

Okafor, the second overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft, was in training camp with the 76ers before the club waived him.

Okafor, 35, hasn’t played in an NBA regular-season game since April 15, 2013, because of a herniated disk in his neck. Okafor, the 2005 NBA Rookie of the Year, was medically cleared to play five months ago.

Okafor averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game for the Washington Wizards in 2012-13. The Wizards, knowing he was likely out for the entire 2013-14 campaign, used the defensive-minded big man’s $14.5 million expiring contract just days before the start of the 2013-14 to acquire Marcin Gortat from Phoenix.

Okafor’s career numbers are impressive: the big man played for the Charlotte (New Orleans) Hornets almost his entire career, and spent one season with Washington. He averaged double-figures in scoring and rebounds in his first 5 seasons in the NBA.

Okafor, so far, played in 590 NBA games (started 584), averaging 12.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg and 1.7 bpg in 31.7 mpg.

Okafor has missed four full NBA seasons. He never appeared in a game after leaving the Wizards in the trade that brought Marcin Gortat to Washington.

The second overall pick in the 2004 draft, Okafor was the 2004-05 rookie of the year. For much of his career, durability was his calling card. He did not miss a game in three straight seasons from 2007-10.

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