We’re getting deeper into March Madness and sports bettors have been sharing their big wins (looking at you Saint Peters) and also reflecting on their surprising losses (hello UNC). Need to be caught up on all the action? Welcome to this week’s edition of the Wise Kracks Sports Betting Podcast with my co-host Jon Orlando.
I spent my weekend with the masses at the sports book watching four thrilling days of March Madness. In this week’s podcast, I’ll go over my experience on the floor and recap an incredible bet where someone spun $25 into $103,339.41.
We are also joined by Mike Nuga, a starter on this year’s UNLV Runnin’ Rebels basketball team. Mike shares his incredible international basketball journey that had him wind up halfway across the world from where he was born.
UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Mike Nuga Shares His Journey
Throughout our lives, we’re often faced with obstacles where adapting is the only way to succeed. Mike Nuga is the perfect example of how adapting has led to something special.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Nuga’s journey has featured stops in Canada, the United States, and even a stint back in Africa.
It’s been a crazy journey, said Nuga, who didn’t touch a basketball until he was 12. Basketball wasn’t even on his radar. In fact, Nuga was passionate about track and field. Basketball wasn’t really what I wanted to do at first. I was really a track and field legend in the city of Toronto.
So why basketball? “I hit a weird growth spurt. Everyone was playing basketball so it just made sense for me to do it,” Nuga explained.
Nuga carries himself incredibly well and shows not only professionalism but also maturity well beyond his actual age of 24.
“We get a lot of messages from fake accounts angry about points,” said Nuga when asked about negative interaction. “We just play basketball. It’s funny.”
While Nuga knows a few players in the NBA, he’s not looking for shortcuts along the way. He wants to do things his way. “When I talk to them it’s always love, but I don’t want any handouts, I want to make it on my own.”
“I don’t want any handouts, I want to make it on my own.”
When asked about his current city, Nuga lit up with excitement. “Las Vegas is a strange place that doesn’t sleep. It’s so bright.”
Oh, and don’t worry mom. Nuga has carried his focus even while living in Vegas. “It’s very easy to stay out of trouble, in case my mom is watching. I’m locked in on my goals. I don’t let outside distractions bother me.”
Nuga Picks His NBA Champion & Chooses a Side Between LeBron/Jordan
Despite being a fan of his hometown Toronto Raptors, Nuga isn’t crowing them an NBA champion. Instead – he’s going with a team that most have counted out.
“I still believe that somehow the Lakers are going to pull this off and then I’m not taking anymore LeBron James (versus) Michael Jordan discussions,” said Nuga.
My face just lit up to this as I said, “I think Michael Jordan would have a little bit to say on this.”
Nuga then tries to pinpoint the reason why the Los Angeles Lakers have been struggling this season, using his basketball knowledge not only as a fan of the NBA but as a player competing at one of the highest levels.