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MY LIFE, MY WORDS, MY JOURNEY
You once told me you did not choose basketball, but that basketball chose you, how and when did that happen?
In the world where I come from, kids choose fast money and guns, some for the wrong reasons, some for protection against the wolves of the neighborhood and some just to survive. I was the kid that choose fast money only to survive and for my mother, brothers and sisters as well. Basketball wasn’t my first priority, making money and surviving was! Basketball was a hobby which the entire neighborhood enjoyed and mostly the street runners and drug dealers loved to play. The streets chose basketball for me… They used to tell me how good I was and that I should take it more seriously because I was the first that they had seen with my type of talent ever in our city. But I didn’t listen. Sometimes getting in trouble and watching your mom cry will change the coldest and hardest man. So basketball chose me, I didn’t choose it.
If you hadn’t been a pro baller, what would you have liked to do for a leaving?
If I wouldn’t have been a basketball player…I would have worked with kids so that they wouldn’t have to grow up the way that I had to when I was a child. That, and business, because I like the challenge. I like accomplishing things that people say you can’t accomplish.
You have played worldwide, and in different teams in France. How one chooses the next contract? What are the main factors that helps to make a decision?
The way that I choose the next contract is by looking at the coach. The coach is first and foremost. I also look for loyalty and respect from the team. I am big into loyalty and respect, and in today’s game, that seems to be difficult to find because some programs are built on deception.
You are reputed for according a lot of appreciation to the fans, which public has moved you the most in your career and why?
Nanterre, Limoges and Lille. The fans there embraced my leadership. I am a hardcore leader and lead by example. I push players when they don’t want to be pushed, but I praise them when they do well also. When I see something wrong, I speak up instead of looking past it because that is the only way a team can grow. The fans there recognized that and they appreciated that.
You are very family oriented, but also are a very solitary person, how easy/difficult is it to leave abroad third time of the year then come back full time for a couple of months? Does that require some transition time?Anything that you try to achieve in life requires sacrifices. One does not come without the other. It’s easy to come back when you know that you have real friends and loved ones waiting at home for you. You don’t miss a beat. It feels like you’ve never been gone.
You have been in the game for quite a long time now, what are the things you have liked the most about your life as a basketball player? Things you have liked the less, or been disappointed by?
I like the challenge. I like being amongst the players on the hardwood and looking them in the eyes and giving them hope and making them believe that the impossible is possible. I like to see the look in their eyes when they believe in me. I love the ups and downs of the game because it reminds me of life, something that I play very well. I like the bond that I have with my teammates and my coach and the newfound friendships that you wouldn’t ever expect to find. I am disappointed by the lies and the deceit, how you can lay down your life on the court and then some programs don’t appreciate that. That is the utmost disrespect when it comes to a player or warrior on the floor.
I can tell you have real writing skills and you like to share your insight about life with people from time to time. How did you come to this? What do you wish, expect from sharing your experience with the public?
I started by writing on paper bags when I was younger and was going through things that I didn’t understand or things that hurt me. I would write what was on my mind on a paper bag as an outlet to keep me from using the world as an outlet instead and getting into trouble. I used the ball up the paper bag and throw it away, and when I would do that I felt like I was balling up my troubles and throwing them away and it make me feel like my troubles disappeared. Now that I have matured as a person and as a man, I found a sense of urgency to share my past life in order to help others who have endure the same things that I have, in their life today. Maybe it could help them if they are battling the same things today. I look at it for both parties as therapeutic; reader and writer.
I know it’s not easy for you to « welcome new persons in your world », is it your way of « letting people in » but from distance?
The way that I grew up, you don’t let people in your life unless they prove themselves worthy to be in your life because most people come to destroy, take, use and only a few come to build. I have learned to protect myself because it’s hard to know which is which in today’s society, so my friendship is from a distance until I learn the real character and face of a person. That’s the reason why it seems like I am very closed in…but, maybe I am. I am not too closed in that I don’t recognize good people and good hearts. Only real people that come into my life for the right reasons can accept me. The people who come into my life for the wrong reasons always have a hard time getting along with me. I guess there’s a difference between real and fake: they will never get along.
How do you picture your after basketball?
My after basketball life, I picture it even better. More achievements. More accomplishments. A better fight. The most beautiful part is that I will be full-time with my family.
What could we wish you for the upcoming season?
Just blessings. I am a man who doesn’t wish or hope, or believe in luck. I believe that I control my own destiny and the only person who has the last say so over my destiny is God. So the only thing that I could ask for is for blessings to have a smooth and better journey than the last one.