CHARLOTTE, NC--Emeka Okafor may have been the best college player in the nation, but he was not selected as the number one pick in the draft. That honor went to Dwight Howard, a young, athletic, and talented prep school star. Okafor, however, was seen by many as the best bet for NBA success, based on his court vision, superb rebounding ability, and defensive prowess.

So what was it about him that scared the Orlando Magic away? Some say it was his sterling 3.75 Grade Point Average at the University of Connecticut. While educational prowess is seen as a positive in most areas of society, the NBA is not one of them, leaving some concerned that Okafor isn’t nearly stupid enough to succeed in the NBA.

“I’ll be honest, I loved everything about this kid except his GPA,” said one NBA scout. “I love his attitude, his skill, his athleticism, but those grades raised a red flag for me and a lot of other scouts. You look around the league and you’ll find that most of the players aren’t just stupid, they’re dim to the point of being mentally challenged.”

Another scout cited Okafor’s devotion to his studies as a weakness that could be exploited in the NBA.

“How much time is he spending on basketball? If he’s spending so much time on it, how is he getting such great grades?” asked the scout. “I don’t know what this kid’s parents are like, but they really dropped the ball by having him concentrate so much on studying. Personally, if I knew my kid was that good at hoops, I’d tell him to throw his books in the trash and focus on things that really matter.”

While most NBA prospects commit themselves fully to learning the game, Okafor clearly had other priorities, like attaining a degree in finance. His parents hail from Nigeria, and have failed to instill in their son the desire to abandon intellectual pursuits in favor of basketball. While those around him claim that he was committed to both his studies and his basketball, NBA GM’s are finding that hard to believe.

“That’s a tough one to swallow,” said John Weisbrod, GM for the Orlando Magic. “This kid we drafted, Dwight Howard, has never opened a book in his life, except for the Bible. And the Bible is fine with us, since it can be plundered for inspirational slogans that help motivate players. Of all the kids drafted in the top ten, none of them gave a second thought to studying. Why would they? Finance professors don’t have groupies and drive Escalades, my friend. That privilege goes to basketball players—stupid, stupid basketball players.”

While the Bobcats claim to be thrilled with their number one pick, GM Bernie Bickerstaff does have a few concerns about Okafor’s ability to fit in with his teammates.

“This guy is a blue chip prospect and it would be ignorant to say otherwise,” he said. “However, we do have a couple issues we need to address with Emeka regarding his relationship with his future teammates. How is a guy with a 3.75 GPA going to get along with a bunch of dipshit NBA players? Is he going to go out and get a large, ugly tattoo written in Chinese? He seems a bit too smart for that. Will his jaw drop at the site of a Hummer or Escalade or some other gaudy, ostentatious vanity-mobile? Will he attempt to record a rap album? Frankly, I don’t see him doing any of these things, which may cause him to be ostracized from the rest of his teammates. Hell, I’m not even sure if he’ll punch his chest after making a slam dunk with his team down by 30 points.”

Bickerstaff said that he may ask some of his other players to tutor Okafor in the NBA lifestyle of stupidity and excess.

“I’m sure some of the other guys will be willing to help him out,” said Bickerstaff. “I’ve got a few guys in mind right now, actually. Ideally, I’d like them to give him the old ‘NBA makeover.’ You ever notice how guys come out of college all innocent and clean cut, and then after a month in the league they have cornrows, tattoos, and they never smile? You know, like Allen Iverson. The guy looked like Webster in college, and then he turned into a member of the Bloods overnight.”

When faced with questions about his intelligence and ability to fit in with the other players, Okafor insisted that he was definitely “NBA material.”

“I can’t believe people would question my ability to fit in based on my GPA in college,” he said. “I’m tired of being judged by that. It’s just a number, it's not who I am. I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life. One time I had sex with a girl out of wedlock, thank you very much. One time I smoked a joint even though I know full well that it’s a gateway drug. I also drive a Chevy minivan, which is pretty big and fancy, and is a lot closer to those Escalades than people think. I know I have some work to do in the areas of idiocy, moronic, depraved behavior, thug-like appearance, arrogance and misogyny, but bear with me! I'm still a work progress here.”

Emeka Okafor: Is He Dumb Enough To Play In The NBA?
July 6th , 2004 - Volume 1 Issue 56