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NBA star Anunoby keen to come home to Harlesden to play with Toronto Raptors

PUBLISHED: 10:00 26 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:41 26 June 2018

OG Anunoby dunks the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers (Pic: David Liam Kyle)

OG Anunoby dunks the ball against Cleveland Cavaliers (Pic: David Liam Kyle)

2018 NBAE

London-born NBA star OG Anunoby is keen to play a game back in his hometown and build up the sport.

OG Anunoby defending against LeBron James (Pic: David Liam Kyle)OG Anunoby defending against LeBron James (Pic: David Liam Kyle)

The 20-year-old, who was born in Harlesden in Brent, has just finished his rookie season in the league with Toronto Raptors and played a part in them making it to the Eastern Conference play-off semi-finals.

They lost 4-0 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Anunoby is already looking to the future with the Raptors.

“Yes, coming back to London and playing with the Raptors in London would be fantastic,” Anunoby said.

“The Raptors came here two years ago, but we’ll see what happens in the future.”

The boyhood Arsenal fan also believes it’s massive for the NBA to play matches in his native country of England, adding: “It is very important, it helps grow the brand and it is also beneficial to the kids who play basketball on this side of the pond.

“They are able to see professional basketball players in action, which is something they might not be used to.”

Anunoby is also setting the bar high for next season and wants to go further this time round.

“Win a championship with the Raptors,” he said. “We went close this year, we will do our best to win it next year.”

The youngster, who was selected 23rd overall in the 2017 NBA draft, broke straight into the Raptors line-up and, now he is making a name for himself, is delighted with his season.

“It went really well. We played really good in the regular season, then in the play-offs we started off really well, but we didn’t end up as good as we wanted to.”

Anunoby also had the unenvious task of guarding LeBron James in the play-offs and praised the power forward in every aspect of his game.

“It was fine. We played a couple of times in the regular season and it was really tough to guard him. He’s a really smart player, he can do everything on the court.”

Anunoby also praised team-mates Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan for their impact in his first season.

“They are really encouraging and just very good people, which is the main thing,” he said.

“I’ve seen how they prepare before a game, they take care of their bodies really well, strict diets, seeing that I think has helped me a lot.”

The Washington Wizards will host the New York Knicks at The O2 on January 17. To sign up for early access to tickets, exclusive offers and the latest team news, please visit www.NBA.com/London.

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