Gbemisola Abudu: NBA Africa VP on building NBA footprint in Nigeria

Sports Illustrated and Empower Onyx are putting the spotlight on the diverse journeys of Black women across sports — from the veteran athletes, to up-and-coming stars, coaches, executives and more — in the series, Elle-evate: 100 Influential Black Women in Sports.


Gbemisola Abudu’s love for basketball came from being a spectator, not a player. As a young girl living in California, Gbemisola was forced to watch games over her favorite television show, 90210, because her older brother would take over the remote. It was then she witnessed the greatness of Kobe Bryant. It was a transformative moment. It wasn’t just his skills and talent as a player; it was Bryant’s focus and discipline that resonated with Abudu, the NBA Africa vice president and country head of NBA Nigeria, and the youngest and only woman of color to lead an office of the league.

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