The last time Emeka Okafor played in an NBA game, Barack Obama was less than three months into his second term as President of the United States. Okafor, then suiting up for the Washington Wizards, saw nine minutes and 39 seconds of action in a 106-101 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on April 15, 2013.
Since then, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft has dealt with a myriad of injuries as he’s tried to work his way back to the league. He appeared in several preseason games with the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this year after getting medically cleared to play before ending up with their G League team, where he served as an on-court mentor.
In the wake of DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending achilles injury, though, the New Orleans Pelicans needed some frontcourt help. This led to them turning to Okafor on a 10-day deal, and on Monday night, Okafor took the floor in an NBA game for the first time in nearly five years.
The Pelicans lost to Utah, 133-109, and Okafor saw nine minutes of game time with three points on 1-for-2 shooting and a pair of rebounds. While it certainly wasn’t the result he wanted, it was really great to see Okafor back on the floor. Here’s to hoping he’s able to carve out a nice role over the rest of the season.