Los Angeles Clipper center DeAndre Jordan plays with aggression and is in attack mode each and every night he hits the hardwood. The improving center may be a force to be reckon with on the court, but off the court he’s a true softy, a care-bear if you will.
Tobi Oyedeji was best friends with of Jordan while attending Texas A&M University getting ready to become a NBA player while Oyedeji was a high school basketball phenom. Oyedeji was sought out to be the next DeAndre Jordan for the Aggies as he wanted to follow in his best friend foot steps.
“I was kind of like a big brother to him because he was an only child,” Jordan says. “We would talk at least a couple times a week … about when he said he was going to A&M and how much muscle they wanted him to put on and different shoes that he liked and things like that.”
In 2010, the 18-year-old power forward from Bellaire High in Bellaire, Texas, who at 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds was destined to be an impactful player for the Aggies in the upcoming season.
Unfortunately it didn’t go as planned.
Oyedeji dropped his last friend off after prom night, called his father and told him he was on his way home early Sunday morning, only minutes away from home. Oyedeji was then involved in a head-on collision shortly after the phone call, dying after several life-saving surgeries went unsuccessful the following day. Oyedeji passed away five days prior to his 18th birthday.
Jordan found out about the horrible news from teammate at the time Brian Cook, leaving the center heartbroken. A friendship ended too soon.
DeAndre Jordan now has a tradition of tweeting to his best friend who passed away before every NBA game. He wears rubber bands that represent him. Oyedeji’s twitter account is still active even after his passing.
— DeAndre Jordan (@deandrejordan) April 16, 2014
“I’ll just always remember his smile and the way he was so positive about everything. Even if it was something he didn’t like, he was always finding a way to make it into a positive, said Jordan on his fallen friend. “He was just a real upbeat person.”
“His number was 35, so I have 35 inner-city kids who are excelling in athletics and academics at the game. It’s a thing I’m going to do for a very long time.”