NBA Star Ogugua ‘O.G.’ Anunoby Jr. has become a part-owner of the London Lions Basketball Club. The 25-year-old Toronto Raptors player joins majority owners 777 Partners after purchasing a minority stake in the club. London-born Anunoby has played over 250 games for Toronto and became the first-ever British basketball player to win an NBA Championship with the team in 2019.
The young wing has played five seasons in the NBA after being drafted in the first round in 2017, stating that a key goal of his is to ‘inspire kids in Great Britain who want to play basketball and show that they can make it to the league from Britain’. Anunoby now joins the ranks of a cohort of decision-makers at the club determined to guide both the club and the wider sport to new heights, attracting the best of British and international talent.
Anunoby’s investment comes as basketball in the UK continues its meteoric rise in popularity. The British Basketball League confirmed record attendances last season as over 15,000 people descended upon The O2 Arena when the Lions faced Leicester Riders in the BBL Play-Off Final. The London-based side have also reported record viewership figures for their EuroCup games this season on BT Sport, supported in no small part by a record-breaking run across both men’s and women’s teams.
Over the course of the last 18
months alone, the Lions became the first side ever to win both the BBL Cup and
WBBL Cup in the same event in January, whilst the men’s team have reached the
EuroCup playoffs – a feat not achieved by any other UK team in history. The
women’s team are also solidifying their claim as one of the most successful
teams in women’s sport, having achieved an unprecedented
feat of 52 consecutive wins in the WBBL earlier this
season and going unbeaten domestically for over 650 days.
O.G. Anunoby said:
“It’s great to see everything
that is going on in British basketball right now which is why I am really
excited to join the London Lions. I just want to do my part as a role model to
all the young hoopers in London and across the entire UK. I look forward to
visiting the team in the off-season and can’t wait to help build with the organization.”
Lenz Balan, Vice-President of 777 partners said:
‘We are delighted to welcome O.G.
Anunoby as a part-owner of the London Lions at such an exciting time in the
club’s history. Having broken a number of records this year, we believe that having
OG’s calibre and experience on the ownership team will help bring the club to
the next level. He is a top player that shares the same DNA and passion as our
team and will be instrumental in helping put British basketball on an even
bigger stage in years to come.”