There have been eight players out of Senegal that have made it to the NBA, the most notable of which is Bobcats center DeSagana Diop.
But the path out of there is hard — they learn the game on a dirt court at the SEEDS academy. If they catch a coach’s eye and can get the paperwork handled, they can get into a prep academy in the United States, where they have to adjust to a new radically new culture, a new school setting literally an ocean away from their families. All while trying to keep their eye on the basketball prize.
The new documentary Elevate — which opened in New York and Los Angeles this week — shows the challenges four players at the SEEDS academy faced. Anne Buford, sister of Spurs general manager R.C. Buford, directed the movie (funded in part by ESPN films).
Below is the trailer for the film, which looks promising. There is a review up at SLAM. Check it out, keep an eye out at your local art theater and Netflix. This one may be worth watching.
76ers on blocking anthem singer wearing ‘WE MATTER’ jersey: ‘We use our games to bring people together’
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community.”
This is a continuation of Carmelo Anthony‘s argument: The emphasis should be on action in communities and there’s no longer a place for gestures like Colin Kaepernick kneeling.
But this needn’t be an either/or discussion. Community-based action is obviously important (though don’t assign responsibility to NBA players to fix racism). Recognizing the width and depth of the problem is necessary – which is why symbols matter, too.
Take Street’s shirt at face value. “We matter.” “Black lives matter.” What’s so offensive about that? There is no implicit “more” attached.
Yet, the 76ers found it antithetical to their brand.
Is that what players were demonstrating on behalf of during the preseason? I’m sure that arena was much more united with a 76ers dancer singing the anthem than it would have been with Streeter spotlighted. But sometimes divisiveness is necessary to advance a cause.
If the 76ers don’t want Streeter using their platform to say “WE MATTER,” that’s their right. Not everyone has to support that choice, though.
Sevyn Streeter says 76ers prevented her from performing national anthem due to ‘WE MATTER’ jersey
Hunter belongs in the league. Though he must knock down shots far more reliably than he has, Hunter has potential as an outside shooter with complementary ball skills to provide value. Boston just had more NBA-caliber players than roster spots.
He’s far from a lock to succeed in the NBA, but I value Hunter about as much as Tony Snell – whom the Bulls just traded for an upgrade at backup point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. That they could so cheaply replace Snell makes that deal look even better.