Mohamed Bamba opens a basketball center in West Africa



Credit: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty

Jhe basketball game has global impact and an NBA player Mohammad Bamba uses sport as a source of empowerment for young people in Africa. The Harlem native helped create basketball courts in the SOS village of Abobo-Gare in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The project was spearheaded by the Orlando Magic center’s philanthropic imprint, the Mo Bamba Foundation. Construction of the state-of-the-art basketball courts began in April. The sports facility will accommodate more than 200 children per day. The next phase of development will include the addition of stadium and bleacher lighting. Those overseeing the installation, including the president of the Ivorian Basketball Federation Mahama Coulibaly— will host basketball clinics and other youth recreational activities that Bamba will join virtually every week.

For Bamba, the creation of the sports facility was personal. It serves as both an ode to his love for basketball and a tribute to his West African ancestry.

“It’s a hugely personal project and I’m proud of how it’s all reflected in the courts,” he said in a statement. statement. “Everything, down to the smallest detail, is an important part of my life, from my African roots to my upbringing in Harlem, to the honor of my family that made it all possible. Mahama helped us identify d ‘incredible local artists and architects who perfectly captured all the intersections of my heritage, and I’m so grateful for all of their hard work.

This is not the first time that Bamba has carried out a philanthropic project in Ivory Coast. He led a COVID-19 relief effort and also donated more than 100 pairs of sneakers to the nation’s basketball development program.

Several NBA stars are using their platform and resources to drive change in Africa. Earlier this year, Phoenix Suns center Bismack Biyombo announcement he would donate his entire 2022 NBA salary to building a hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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