Qadaffi’s Point Guard

by Alex Owumi

Rodale

Featured in/on Men’s Health, The Boston Globe, the BBC, Buzzfeed, and the Daily Mail, among others 

“The values we learn in basketball extend way beyond the court. I tell this to my St. Anthony players every day in practice, and here in Alex Owumi's incredible story we see it on full display. The game took this young man all over the world in pursuit of his dreams. Somehow, he found the strength to persevere in an impossible situation, against impossible odds, and emerged a champion. His book is a great basketball story, but it's mostly about the triumph of the human spirit, about what it takes to survive. He can play on my team any day.”
—Bob Hurley, Sr., Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and author of Chasing Perfect 

“What an adventure it is to tag along with Alex Owumi as he plays his way around the globe! Part sports memoir and part historical thriller, Qaddafi's Point Guard is a truly unique, inspiring tale that reveals just how far one can get on heart and a jump shot—into (and out of) the most amazing and unlikely places.”
—Dave Fromm, author of Expatriate Games: My Season of Misadventures in Czech Semi-Pro Basketball

“After three decades of covering basketball, I'm always in search of the unique story. I found it in Alex Owumi's intriguing tale, which expertly mixes sports and the real world.”
—Jack McCallum, bestselling author of Dream Team

“How far would you be willing to go to realize a dream that you held dear? Alex Owumi chased his dream of playing pro basketball all over the world, and it nearly cost him his life. Candid, inspiring, and at times harrowing, Qaddafi’s Point Guard is an extraordinary tale of basketball and survival guaranteed to stay with you long after you’ve turned its last page.”
—Earl Monroe, Naismith basketball hall of famer and author of Earl the Pearl: My Story 

“This might be the most amazing basketball book I've ever read. In fact, it's not really about basketball at all, but rather about one extraordinary young man and his travel adventures linked to a game that has gone global; that is, into a world that is dangerous, exotic, fascinating, and full of tumult. Most of us have little comprehension of the Middle East or the violent uprising in the region that is now known as the Arab Spring, but following point guard Alex Owumi will drop you into it headfirst. You will feel it, you will hear it. And your heart will beat fast as you root for Alex simply to survive the horrors he confronts. Knowledge and growth and redemption are what Owumi ultimately wins on this very unusual court. That, and the understanding that good people exist everywhere, even—especially—during dangerous times.”
—Rick Telander, bestselling author of Heaven is a Playground

About the Book

A Nigerian native who emigrated to the United States at age 11, Alex Owumi’s exploits on the basketball court led him to a successful career as a small college player. Undrafted by the NBA, Owumi pursued his pro basketball dream overseas, eventually signing with Al-Nasr of Libya, a state-run athletic club privately funded by the family of then-Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi.

Owumi’s tenure with Al-Nasr was interrupted by the Libyan uprising and resulting civil war. Imprisoned in his Benghazi apartment for more than 2 weeks with no food, phone, Internet, or hope, Owumi wondered whether he would make it out of Libya alive. Despite his weakened condition and the dangers lurking in the city, he was able to escape Benghazi and flee the country. Smuggled to a refugee camp in Egypt, he was, much to his surprise, contacted by an Egyptian team seeking his services. And so, in a bizarre, storybook ending, Owumi finished the year by helping lead the team to an unlikely league championship, earning league MVP honors in the process.

Qaddafi’s Point Guard is a book about hope and longing, conflict (cultural, political, and military), and ultimately, triumph—to overcome obstacles and survive against the most desperate odds.

About the Author

Alex Owumi moved to the US from Nigeria at the age of 11. Unclaimed in the 2008 NBA draft, he followed his dream of playing basketball overseas. He currently makes his home in Atlanta but plays professional basketball in the United Kingdom.

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