Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Garland Reporter
The Diogu family will be cheering on Ike Diogu, as he plays basketball in the Olympics for their native country Nigeria.
A Garland family is cheering on their Olympian basketball player.
Professional basketball player Ike Diogu, a Garland High School graduate, is playing for the Nigerian basketball team, which is headed to the Olympics for the first time.
"It's a great accomplishment," said his father, Edward Diogu. "We can't minimize the importance of that."
The Diogus moved to the United States in 1980 for a better life. They always told their four children to follow their dreams.
Edward Diogu said he told his children, "Don't give up. Don't let anyone tell you [that] you can't do anything."
Ike Diogu graduated from Garland High School in 2002 and played basketball at Arizona State University. He was chosen ninth overall in the NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors and has signed over the years with the Warriors, the Indiana Pacers, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Sacramento Kings, the New Orleans Hornets, the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs.
"He is extremely hard-working and, whatever he sets his mind to, he will accomplish. That's why we are really really proud of him," said his mother, Jane Diogu.
Garland High School coach Jeff Jordan coached Ike Diogu on the football team for years when he was on the Class 5A Division II State Championship team.
"The teachers loved him; the kids loved him," he said. "He was just a super kid to be around."
And while Ike Diogu is on Team Nigeria, in Garland, once an Owl, always an Owl.
"Just the opportunity to go to the Olympics to go play with anybody is such a great experience and such a great honor," Jordan said. "I'm just really excited for him."
Whatever happens on the court, his parents said they would never forget how he got there.
"He came out almost 11 pounds, and so that showed us he was going to be a special kid," Edward Diogu said.