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Nigerian women's basketball star gives back!

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sidney

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These are the stories that need to be promoted!!

What is the moment in a pleasantly ordinary life -- 9-to-5 desk job, apartment in the suburbs, Camry in the driveway -- when a person decides to turn her back on pleasant and ordinary and follow a dream?

For Mobolaji Akiode, that moment arrived one afternoon this past summer. She was sitting in her old bedroom in her parents' home in New Jersey, rifling through memorabilia from her days as a basketball star. There were the photos of the Columbia (Maplewood, N.J.) High School team that won the 1998 state finals, clippings from her record-setting years at Fordham University, mementos from her tenure as a Nigerian-American member of the Nigerian teams at the Summer Olympics in 2000 and 2004.

"I looked up at the wall in my room," says Akiode, who was a junior accountant at ESPN at the time. On the wall was a photograph of Akiode in Fordham's maroon and white, framed with an inscription: "Follow the path of integrity and never look back. For there is never a wrong time to do the right thing."

She read those words. And that, she says now, was that.

"My plan was, working at ESPN, and after that I was going to get my master's [degree]," she says. "I had my car, my apartment … and in one inspiring moment, it just went away."

In the middle of an economic recession, Akiode quit her job and packed the apartment. She moved 5,000 miles from Bristol, Conn. -- population about 60,000 plus all those satellite dishes -- to Lagos, Nigeria, which is going on 18 million and soon to be the most populous city in Africa.

Her goal was both simple and grand: to use sports, particularly basketball camps, to inspire and empower impoverished young women, first in Nigeria and then throughout the African continent.

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Read full story: Her Story: Nigerian basketball star returns home to help other young women - ESPN (Video)

In her own words: Welcome to Nigeria from Mo Akiode - espnW
 
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