Born in Parma on 23rd October 1981 to Nigerian parents, Abiola Wabara started to play basketball, her favourite sport, in the youth sector of Parma Basketball. Although she made her debut in Italian Serie A league in 1999, she played just a few games because she was still developing, both as a player and as a person.
Her first big step took place in 2002, when she moved to the United States thanks to a scholarship. During the next four years, spent at the Baylor University in Texas, she graduated in languages and she improved as a player.
In 2005 she became a NCAA champion, and then she moved to the Israeli league, coming back to Italy after three years there.
In 2009 she became a player of Geas Sesto San Giovanni (a town in the metropolitan area of Milan). This was one of her most succesful periods: Abiola played 43 matches in two years for Geas and she made her debut for the Italian National team in July 2010.
Unfortunately, the Italian National team was also the reason for the first discrimination she was forced to suffer: although she had already obtained Italian citizenship in 1999, before the age of 18, she was excluded from the European qualifying tournament for the European basketball championship in 2011. The reason for her exclusion was a mistake made by the Italian federation which, however, was was later remedied so that Abiola was allowed to continue to play with the Italian basketball team.
The worst episode of racism against Abiola took place during the month of April of the same year, 2011: during a Serie A game between Como and Geas, Abiola was the target of racist insults, booing and chants perpetrated by the local team fans. These horrible chants increased every time she touched the ball, and at the end of the game someone spat at her. As a reaction, Dino Meneghin, president of the Italian Basketball Federation, made the following statement: “multiraciality was always a symbol of basketball, and players from different ethnicities helped our sport to grew and to become popular. I hope that this episode will be the only one and I would like to express my solidarity and the one of the Italian federation with Abiola”. Important actions followed these words: a solidarity campaign was created “I would like black skin” (“Vorrei la pelle nera” in the original language) and the following week every male and female basketball player painted their face black before playing, so to send an emblematic symbol against racism.
After this episode, Wabara played, between 2011 and 2013, 36 games with Italy, scoring a total of 125 points, reaching quarterfinals of the European Championship in 2013, which were lost to Serbia. On the other side, her club career developed by changing Serie A teams and becoming one of the most important player in the league. Iin 2011 she became a Cus Cagliari player, the following year she played in Taranto and in 2014 she concluded her Italian playing in Ragusa.
Since then, Abiola Wabara has moved again to the United States, where she has left basketball, working at what had always been her main passion - art.
Wabara is also a famous painter and she had already exhibited her paintings in Milan in 2010, as part of a project named “Transafrica”. The subjects of her paintings, where it’s easy to find a general accusation, are mainly black people.
In her Instagram page Abiola Wabara exhibits her works and she still continues her awareness raising campaing against racism; recently she expressed her sympathy of the “Black Lives Matter” movement