Toronto Raptors’ rookie OG Anunoby tells us about growing up in London – and more.

Do you ever see yourself playing for Great Britain one day?

It’s definitely something I’d consider, I haven’t decided yet but it’s definitely something I would consider.

What part of London were you born in? Were you a football fan growing up?

I was born in northwest London in Harlesden, I did play [football] and when I moved to the US I was still playing but I stopped around year 8 but then I focussed on basketball a bit more and I grew!

 Who do you support?

My dad’s an Arsenal fan, I liked Arsenal a lot growing up too but right now I like Manchester United

What are you memories of growing up in London?

I don’t remember too much as I was pretty young, I remember it raining a lot. My family is still there now so I’m going to go back next summer as I haven’t been in a while.

Do you hope to inspire a generation of British basketball players?

Yes that’s definitely a goal of mine, to inspire kids in Great Britain to want to play basketball and show that they can make it to the NBA from Britain.

 At what point did you decide that basketball was the sport you wanted to get into?

At elementary school I played every sport and then I started to like basketball more but then again I had phases with every sport where I wanted to play professionally, baseball, basketball and football. But then in middle school when I started to grow and I got better, I knew I wanted to play basketball.

What role have your parents played in your career and how have they helped you?

My dad always taught me discipline and to do everything with my best effort, to always do things on time and be respectful in everything I do, my whole family is big on that so it’s very important to me and I try to do in everything.

 You played a great game against Houston the other night, particularly on the defensive end against James Harden. What were the things you focussed on in order to slow him down?

Trying to force him to his right hand and trying to contest all of his shots. Then if he drives I would take to my teammates like Serge or JO behind me who can help me to block a shot and help contest and then picking him up full court to tire him throughout the game and make him lose his legs so it effects his jump shot. 

Do you see yourself as a player known for their defence in the future?

Yes that’s a goal of mine and being a complete player every game and doing it at both ends of the court.

Which players did you watch growing up?

I liked Tracy McGrady a lot, I liked Allen Iverson a lot, they were my two favourite players growing up.

How do you deal with injuries?

Just keeping faith and working hard in everything to make sure you come back and bettering yourself as a person, in everything.

 What role does Raptors President Masai Ujiri play in your development?

We talk a lot about what we see on the basketball court and the stuff I can improve on as well as the stuff that I’m good at and need to keep doing and just try to get better at everything, so he really helps me  a lot.

Do you learn from DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry in practice?

Yeah just watching them and how they work and try to perfect everything they do. It makes we want to work harder and be like them and then try to become better than them too.

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Photo: Getty/NBAE



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