17 February, 2020
23 February, 2021
15 Retin Obasohan (BEL)
to read

Belgian Lions always on my mind | Retin Obasohan

ANTWERP (Belgium) - One of my favorite books is The Precious Present, by Spencer Johnson.

It's a very small book, an easy read, and it's about appreciating today. Often times, we'll get into a situation where we're thinking about, "What I did yesterday" or "What I'm going to do tomorrow." So this book is really about focusing on today and where you are and stuff like that.

That's one of my mantras. I have goals and work hard to achieve them, yet I always try to live in the present, go day by day, and give maximum effort to get the most out of every experience.

It's like that now in the Czech Republic, where I play for ERA Nymburk, and it will be like that when I'm with my Belgium national team. I want to give my all to help both teams be the best they can be.

While I'm concentrating right now on playing for Nymburk, the February national team window is so close that I'll allow myself to take a brief look at what is in front of us.


We've won three of four games and are first in Group C of the EuroBasket Qualifiers while Denmark and Lithuania are right behind us with two wins each. We'll face Denmark and the Czech Republic and if we finish in the top two, Belgium will be headed to the European Championship.

The Czech Republic are fourth but as one of the hosts of the EuroBasket, they qualify automatically.

Someone suggested that had Denmark not won against Lithuania and the Czechs in the last window, we might already be in the EuroBasket and could relax. But here's the thing.

The job remains the same no matter what the situation. We will always play hard, focused, determined and try to have fun. We must commit to the goals and the journey that we want to achieve as a team and that means being completely concentrated and giving our all in every game.

That's the mindset of our coach, Dario Gjergja.

He really cares about his players and about their development. He also wants the players to figure this out together, to compete and raise the standard in Belgium, to go after higher and higher goals. 

When you have a coach like that, one that comes in with all the accolades he has at Filou Oostende, and more than that shows he trusts in you and wants to help you improve individually but also collectively, that's the type of leader that you can get behind.

What awaits us in February are two hard games against the Danes and Czechs. We know Denmark are very good. Gabriel Lundberg is a very good player, someone we'll have to guard as a collective. But they have a lot of talent and the way they play works well for them, so in order for us to do well, it will have to be a collective effort. Obviously the Czech Republic are very good, which they showed by reaching the Quarter-Finals of the World Cup in China.

I'll get goosebumps when I run onto the floor in Vilnius again. I always do.

Belgium is a nation that my family and I owe so much to. My parents are from Nigeria and while they had a good life there, they moved to Belgium because they wanted their children - me and my three brothers - to have more opportunities in life, and we have had many.

I grew up with a lot of competition just in my home, which was good. My brothers and I always tried to beat each other at everything. At 12 years old, though, I left home in Antwerp to join a basketball academy and eventually, after high school, left for America to play college basketball for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

That was a great experience in every way because not only did I get better, through a lot of hard work and with great coaching, but I also studied finance and economics and got my Masters Degree in marketing.

My parents' decision to move to Belgium many years ago paid off for me. So it's always special to play for the national team, whether it's a qualifying game or, God willing, a tournament game. I always say to my friends that wearing national team colors is not an experience that everyone gets in life so every game, I approach it from that perspective, that I'm doing something 99 percent of the world doesn't get to experience.

It would be even more special if we qualify for the FIBA EuroBasket.

My coaches always told me, to "Get your feet wet!", which is why I try to get in the paint and go hard to the basket as much as I do. A lot of good things happen when you get your feet wet, they always said.

That's a good saying in life, to get your feet wet. Don't run away from challenges but embrace them. Meet them head on. That's our approach at Nymburk and also with Belgium.

Retin Obasohan

Retin Obasohan

Obasohan, who played for Belgium at the U16, U18 and U20 European Championships Division B, was poised to make his bow for the senior team at FIBA EuroBasket 2017 but got injured in a warmup game against Germany and missed out. Having excelled for the Alabama Crimson Tide in American college basketball, where he was an All-SEC First Team Selection in 2016, Obasohan has played professionally for Sidigas Avellino, Rockets Gotha, Northern Arizona Suns, Brose Bamberg and now ERA Nymburk in the Czech league and the Basketball Champions League. The 27-year-old has been Belgium's most explosive player in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers, averaging 19.0 points per game.