• Khari Jones Jr.

Siakam does it for Africa

Pascal Siakam is using his NBA opportunities and now his NBA championship to inspire young basketball players around the world.

His relentless performance played a major role in the Raptors’ historical championship run. Representing all the way from Cameroon in West Africa. Winning this NBA Championship was not only big for the Toronto Raptors, but for Cameroon as a whole, having one of their own win it all. Some international athletes have a difficult time seeing a vision beyond what their eyes can see and Siakam demonstrates that anything can be done. Siakam is playing for a nation that stands behind him, where many people don’t see their dreams come to fruition he has managed to create a success story. He wanted to show the world where’s he from and tell people they can do it. In the postgame press conferences Siakam wore the Cameroon flag with pride saying, “Part of the reason I’m here is to represent Cameroon in Africa.”

Coming up trying to maximize his basketball ability, Siakam attended Basketball Without Borders in his formative years which contributes to a large portion of his success today. BWB presents itself as a tool to help players from all over the world to promote the sport of basketball and to encourage positive social change. The various BWB camps that are held globally give young international players the chance to develop their talent and get exposure to NBA executives. It was at the camp in South Africa in 2012 that Siakam was noticed by Raptors President Masai Ujiri.

Speaking after the Raptors’ win, the player who has become a fan favourite spoke from the heart as he addressed people like him who don’t believe that their dreams can come true, “For me as a kid, I didn’t have the opportunity to dream about this moment. I didn’t think I can make it. I didn’t think it was possible as a kid. I thinks a lot of kids don’t think it’s possible. Just me being able to be here today telling them, look at me. I’m a lost country kid from Cameroon, who couldn’t even think about this moment but here I am as a champion. (I) Just want to tell them it’s possible and that if you believe in something, go out there and work hard for it. It might sound clichéd but it’s true. I am the proof.”

Playing basketball for a nation is something that Siakam understands well, he’s done it all of his life as he plays for Cameroon and he plays for the continent of Africa. Winning this championship was a massive victory for Canada and the Raptors knew that they were doing it for a nation who yearned for this special achievement. Siakam himself is evidence that anyone’s dreams can be accomplished through hard work. There are many other Pascals out there in the world that never imagine themselves doing something this momentous. However his journey can serve as inspiration as he continues to make his mark in the NBA, playing for his country, motivating young athletes from around the globe to aspire for greatness.

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