Nairobi will be the centre of attraction today as Kenya-born American basketball trickster Joe Odhiambo goes for his 18th world record in ball handling.
Just last June, “Big Joe” reclaimed one of his world records in Maui, Hawaii — spinning one basketball for the longest time on one hand, a feat that lasted 12 minutes and 43 seconds. The previous record stood at 11 minutes and 22 seconds.
At Nairobi’s Charter Hall on Saturday, Odhiambo will attempt to set two more world records, one for spinning two basketballs for the longest time on two hands and the second for juggling two basketballs and spinning one on a finger.
The day’s programme will start with a morning basketball clinic paving way for the world record attempt shortly after 1pm.
“I set my first world record during the NBA All-Star games in Houston Texas at Toyota Center. Since then, I have set record all over the world. This will be the first attempt at setting one a record in my home country, Kenya,” said Odhiambo who won five national secondary schools titles from 1982 to 1986 at St Theresa’s and St Patrick’s Iten.
Odhiambo currently has seven ball handling records to his name in the Guinness Book of World Records but has broken a total of 17 in his career.
“I have broken records all over the world, and I would love for my fans in Kenya to see me in action. They normally see the posts on YouTube or Facebook, and some asked if I can make a run at home to inspire,” Odhiambo said.
Saturday’s attempt has been put together by Beyond Hoops Africa, a community based organisation that uses basketball and life-skills as a tool for community inclusion and developing the game of basketball at the grassroots level.
“Beyond Hoops Africa appreciates the partnership and views it as an opportunity to inspire youth to pursue their dreams and for Joe to set a world record in his motherland,” the organisation’s founder James Kamau says.
Odhiambo is full of praise for St Patrick’s Iten High School coaching legend Bro Colm O’Connell, the man behind the school’s sporting success since the 1980s.
“Bro Colm is not a drill sergeant, he is a master coach,” says Odhiambo.
“He will watch you train, and help you do what you are doing better. When you practice and see immediate success, it motivates and inspires you to work even hard. He taught me how to practice effectively, use my time wisely and get positive results.”