Raptors Profiles: OG Anunoby is the quiet hero we need but don’t deserve

Photo Credit: Harry Aaron/Getty Images

What do OG Anunoby and Snake Eyes — from the GI Joe series — have in common? They’re both the strong, silent type who are deadly in their own craft.

Since arriving in Toronto via the 2017 NBA Draft — where he was picked 23rd overall by the Raptors — the 6’7″, 232 pound 23 year old forward has been known as the quiet guy on campus, with not-so-silent potential.

Since his rookie season, he has increased his numbers in most of the major statistical categories each year. During the 2017-18 season, Anunoby averaged 5.9 points, a 37.1 three-point percentage, 2.5 rebounds, a 62.9 free throw percentage and 20 minutes on the floor.

This season, he’s sitting at 13.8 points, a 39.5 three-point percentage, 5.7 rebounds, a 75.5 free throw percentage and 33.4 minutes per game.

He’s also effectively maintained a strong field goal percentage since his rookie year. Anunoby peaked at 50.5% from the field in 2019-20 and has never dipped below 45.3% in his sophomore year with the Raptors.

While he may not be considered shy, some coaches and other team members have referred to Anunoby as “stoic.” His eldest brother, Chigbo — a former NFL player and current medical school student — has characterized Anunoby as more “reserved” than anything else.

Chigbo said, in an interview with the Toronto Star, that the whole family shares that trait.

“That’s just how we are as a family,” Chigbo said in the interview. “I’m the same way. My father is the same.”

Anunoby was born in July 1997 in London, England. His father was a professor and his mother was a national-level sprinter for Nigeria. The family credits his mother for providing the genetic material that has created two talented professional athletes.

Both of Anunoby’s parents have since passed away. His mother died of cancer when he was just one year old and his father died in 2018 — just one year into Anunoby’s NBA career.

Anunoby was devastated, but he hasn’t allowed the tragedies to effect his game — at least on the surface.

Already in his fourth year with Toronto, he is becoming a force to be reckoned with. He has battled through his father’s death, injuries and COVID-19 health and safety protocols, while making his way up the depth chart to become a regular starter.

Anunoby’s play continues to live up to the stoic nature of his character, and only lets his performance do the talking — not his mouth.

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