Michael Olalekan Ojo was a Nigerian-American professional basketball player. At 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) tall and 310 pounds (140 kg), he was one of the tallest and heaviest players ever to play in Serbia and Europe. After competing in college basketball for Florida State, he played professionally for three seasons with Serbian clubs FMP and Crvena Zvezda. He died of a heart attack at age of 27.
The club had recently released him and Ojo was reportedly looking for another team in Europe.
Ojo, 7 foot-1 tall and number 21, soared above his teammates. According to CBS News, while playing for the FSU, Nike reportedly had to spend $ 15,000 to build a machine of the right size for him.
“In all my years of coaching, I have never been with someone like Michael who captivated the feelings of everyone he came into contact with,” FSU basketball head coach Leonard Hamilton said in a statement. It must have been the most popular person at Tallahassee and certainly at Florida State University. Michael Ojo was a great, wonderful person. ”
Hamilton continued: “He was a great teammate and really represented what the Seminole spirit was all about. It was one of the purest Seminols I’ve ever been around; He will be tremendously missed by the entire Seminole nation. ”
In a 2017 interview with Warchant, Ojo said it was a “privilege” to be on the Florida team and recruit Hamilton as a coach.
“Even when I’m not good enough to do anything – I missed all my tournaments and stuff – just believing that this kid could be anything in life,” he said to Hamilton’s belief in him. Be a good citizen. Good friend. Good wife. He’s a good father. ”
“[Hamilton] always says his biggest joy is to see his players succeed 15 or 20 years later,” Ojo continued. “Either you play basketball or you have your own business or you have a job. You are a good husband and a good father. He said that is what made him the happiest. This is the joy of being a coach. I’m sure some day in the future he will come back and thank him for the opportunity. I will thank you. I cannot be more grateful. “