Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Abdel Nader could be the missing piece for the Egyptian national team that takes them to the next level.

Nader has never represented Egypt on the national level, but he hopes that changes.

He knows that donning the prestigious Pharaohs jersey brings a feeling of fulfillment, national pride and a sense of belonging.

“I remember the beautiful Mediterranean that runs all around my city of Alexandria filled with passionate people and delicious Egyptian food that my Mom always cooks for me when I am home in Chicago,” Nader said in an exclusive interview with “Unlike other cities in Egypt, basketball is the number one sport in Alexandria.”

The 26-year-old stays in touch with his country and is invested in inspiring the next generation of players.

“I have been in close touch with the coaches and the federation for the last several years,” Nader said. “I speak to the vice president of the Egyptian federation Mohamed Abdelmotaleb regularly and follow top young Egyptian players in the states and Europe regularly to support them and continue to help grow the sport in Egypt.”

Nader is also currently mentoring a player named Yasser Mohab who he believes is going to be “a superstar soon for Egypt and Africa. This kid is special,” Nader said.

Egypt was drawn in Group E of the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers alongside rival Morocco, Uganda and the winner of the last Pre-Qualifiers involving Cape Verde, Liberia and South Sudan.

The top three teams from this group qualify to the FIBA AfroBasket 2021.

For world events, Egypt last qualified for the FIBA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 1988.

“I can’t wait and I am super excited for the opportunity to wear my country across my chest on the court,” Nader said. “It feels great and it is an honor to be able to represent my country of Egypt in the NBA. I receive so much love from all Middle Eastern and North Africans as the only Arab player in the NBA and I take this responsibility very seriously.”