Before the 2012 Summer Olympics even started, I witnessed how much it means for most athletes just to make it to this event. In the last qualifying game, Nigeria outlasted Puerto Rico to earn its first men's basketball Olympic berth. The ineffable joy and unbridled enthusiasm of Nigeria after the game gave me goose bumps.
New Orleans Hornets F Al-Farouq Aminu was one of the Nigerians who ran up into the stands to celebrate with his family, friends, and fans. Although Aminu and Nigeria sustained a historic loss to Team USA and failed to advance past pool play, they have nothing to be ashamed of. Take a look back at Al-Farouq Aminu's Summer Olympics.
7/29: Nigeria defeats Tunisia: 60-56
Nigeria proved it belonged in the Summer Olympics by winning its opening game. However, Tunisia made it interesting with a 41-29 run in the second half. Al-Farouq Aminu almost had a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
7/31: Lithuania defeats Nigeria: 72-53
Things didn't go quite as well for the rest of the London Olympics. In a big loss to Lithuania, Al-Farouq Aminu scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. But Aminu only shot 23 percent from the field and Nigeria shot 24 percent as a team.
8/2: USA defeats Nigeria: 156-73
What can I say about this Olympic men's basketball game that hasn't been said already? Trailing 13-0, Al-Farouq Aminu got Nigeria on the board with two free throws. However, Aminu's seven points were not enough to keep his team in the game against the USA.
8/4: Argentina defeats Nigeria: 93-79
Trailing 37-19 to Argentina after the first quarter, Nigeria fought back to avoid another blowout loss in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Aminu scored 10 points, pulled down four rebounds, and even contributed five assists to the hard-fought comeback effort.
8/6: France defeats Nigeria: 79-73
Despite starting and playing 27 minutes against France, Al-Farouq Aminu didn't score in his final game of the Olympics. Nigeria led France 41-30 at halftime, but couldn't hold on for the upset win. However, I was proud to see Aminu play on the world's biggest stage.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Hornets. Patrick was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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