Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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Champ Oguchi took a shot and asked Serena Williams out at the Olympics. Didn’t happen. He hopes his basketball shots turn out better.
John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
His parents, native Nigerians, expected a third daughter before he was born. The doctor told them so. "In the Nigerian culture it is important to have a son," said Oguchi. His father was so happy when his son was born, he thought of a quote believed to be said by the former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain: "I owe the world nothing more."
That, says Oguchi, is how he came to be named Chamberlain.
In a way, Oguchi believes he's been blessed over the past 12 months. He joined Panteras de Miranda of the Ligo Profesional de Baloncesto in Venezuela last March.
Early in the season he scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to set an LPB record. A barrage of 3-point shots, a couple of drives to the basket and several trips to the foul line. He didn't miss.
Oguchi finished with 43 points in the 93-88 come-from-behind win. My high school Spanish couldn't keep up with the excited play-by-play announcer and his color man on the YouTube clip. But the cries of "Chamberlain incredible, incredible" mean the same in Spanish as they do in English.
"I didn't miss. I was hot and I was thankful my teammates kept feeding me the ball," Oguchi said Tuesday.
The crowd in the half-full arena in Caracas roared with every shot. It might have been England, the day he scored 35 points for Nigeria in its loss to France. It might have been the Philippines or Lebanon, where he also played last year. It could be the Portland Expo this season.
"The sound of cheering is the same," said Oguchi. "It doesn't matter where you hear it."
Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org