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.
Video: NBA stars head to Africa for Basketball without Borders
Growing basketball — and in the NBA’s eyes it’s brand of basketball — in Africa is rife with challenges.
But for a decade now the NBA has been trying through its Basketball Without Borders program. Trying to find something through sport that can help unite people all over the continent that has been ravaged by draught and war. Trying to spread a love of the game.
Recently a trio of former Georgetown stars — Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing, and Alonzo Morning — went to Africa to promote the game. Below is some video of their trip. Enjoy.
But they pale in comparison to what the combination of draught and war has brought upon people in parts of Africa.
Dikembe Mutombo — who has worked hard for people in his native Congo — is now calling for help for the people of Somalia. There a terrible drought — the worst in 60 years — is driving people to refugee camps, and they do not have the resources to meet all the needs.
…Mutombo expressed the need for people to not only donate to the cause, but to spread the word and raise awareness regarding a situation that isn’t going away. The Guardian recently reported that about 1,400 Somalis arrive in (the camp at) Dadaab every day.
“How many more children have to die,” Mutombo asked, “before we react?”
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