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Well connected Oguchi Onyewu looking forward to Hoops Aid

LOOKING TO HAVE A BALL: Oguchi Onyewu

OGUCHI ONYEWU’s Hoops Aid rivals better hope he doesn’t lean on his NBA contacts to bring in a ringer this Sunday. The Charlton defender, who has played in two World Cups for the USA, has met the likes of Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker, John Wall, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony over the years.

But he will get the chance to follow in their footsteps this weekend by playing in the Hoops Aid All-Star Game at the O2 Arena, where the USA won Olympic gold in 2012.

Onyewu, 32, said: “The sports world is a small world, so I’ve met plenty of NBA players. Kobe, Tony Parker, John Wall, Kevin Durant, Melo… all at different times. If we could put them all on the court together on Sunday I think we’d definitely have a winning team!”

Onyewu, who was born in Washington and played basketball as a kid before focusing on football, is playing at Hoops Aid to help raise funds for the Sports Traider charity.

Sports Traider tries to break down barriers like race, background or ability to give kids a chance to fulfil their sporting ambition.

That is something Onyewu can relate to after starting his own charity in Washington called Go Global. He said: “I started it to raise awareness about health and fitness issues in the States. We focus on childhood obesity, which is a big issue in America.

“It’s all about empowering kids by promoting health and fitness in their daily lives, so when I heard about Sports Traider and how it helps give opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged kids, I jumped on it.”

Onyewu will be playing against the likes of Steve-O from Jackass, Ike The Kidd from Diversity, The Voice winner Jermain Jackman and heavyweight boxer Dereck Chisora at Hoops Aid.

He said: “I played a bit growing up but I gave it up when was 14, 15 to play football. I still love the sport though. I have the basics down. I played last summer, just shooting some hoops with my boys. It’s going to be fun.”

Hoops Aid, which takes place before the BBL Play-Off Final, also features exclusive performances by Jon Moses, Flawless the Midnight Heat dancers and West London rapper EcKSell.

Tickets prices begin at £20 and are available at http://bit.ly/1DOONDf or by calling 08448 24 48 24

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