But the 6-foot-9 native of Zaire, Nigeria, stopped dribbling the ball a few years ago, last playing for Clayton State’s men’s basketball team in 2015. Since then, he’s traded in his sneakers and shorts for a bib, to keep crumbs from dribbling down his shirt.
Oji, 26, is now a competitive eater, and one of the best in Major League Eating — which is a real thing.
“(My body) gets rid of whatever I put through it,” Oji said. “I didn't really go through any pain or anything like that… I actually felt good for a couple days after.”
And what’s the hardest part about competitive eating? For Oji, who checks in at 225 lbs., it’s not chewing or digesting.
“Swallowing involves a lot of mental and physical (strength),” Oji told Thrillist. “I'm working on my swallowing ability, and that's what's giving me the edge, and that's what gave me the edge with kale.”
Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest - Washington, D.C. Juliet Lee (center) won for the women with 28 hot dogs, Gideon Oji won for the men w/ 37 pic.twitter.com/VyMhyS2MkR
Oji nearly didn't qualify for Nathan's this year because he arrived late to a qualifying contest. He missed the first 6 minutes and 40 seconds of the competition, but rebounded quickly, taking down 21 hot dogs and buns in 4 minutes and 20 seconds to make the cut.