At 6 feet 11 inches tall, Onyekachi “Joseph” Uchebo catches your attention, but there is more than meets the eye. This young man has experienced a life most locals can only imagine.

Uchebo was born in Nigeria. At 16, he came to live in North Carolina, to be groomed for the NBA. According to Uchebo, his coaches selected him during a summer basketball camp and made many unfulfilled promises to bring him into the United States. Uchebo relayed stories of living with two other guys in a dorm room without heat and air conditioning, often not knowing when they would have their next meal and only being provided one outfit to wear.

Despite the hardships, Uchebo relied on his faith in God. He played at several schools, including Chipola College, before playing for the NBA Summer League. He even played basketball in Turkey. However, Marianna stood out for Uchebo. This is where he married his wife and has settled down.

Recently, he opened Uchebo Enterprises, a used car dealership at 4161 Lafayette St. He came to enjoy the business after selling a car for his brother. Uchebo describes himself as a “good guy” that “doesn’t play games.” He prides himself in having his own mechanics evaluate cars at the time of purchase. Uchebo Enterprises offers “buy here, pay here” in-house financing his cars, which Uchebo claims are in “great condition” for a “cheap price.” The business is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and by appointment on Sunday.

Uchebo wants to make a difference for local youth playing basketball. He explained that one of the problems good players have in Marianna is the lack of attention from NBA coaches and scouts visiting the area. Uchebo plans to start basketball camps in the future and attract attention by the NBA for local athletes.

Shop locally, support Marianna businesses and visit Uchebo Enterprises. For more information, call 919-937-8750, and visit the City of Marianna’s website at www.mariannafl.city/335/New-Businesses-and-Other-Community-News to learn more about new businesses.

Kay Dennis, MBA, MPA, A.I.C.P., is the director of Municipal Development for the City of Marianna.

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