It was about 7 years ago when Masai Ujiri, Raptors President, saw Pascal Siakam play at the Basketball without Border camp, accounting the Cameroonian player as memorable. Fast-forward to Thursday night, January 23rd, Pascal Siakam was selected as the All-Star starter for the Eastern Conference team, leaving him in awe.
“It unbelievable, man, I think you just to think back on the journey” Siakam said, as he got slightly teary eyed in his reaction to the news.
Pascal Siakam’s journey has been a crazy and emotional one, but it definitely reflects in his performance and attitude on the court. The Cameroon native, went to New Mexico State University, with very little basketball experience, in 2013, after he moved to the U.S with his family. Unfortunately, in 2014, Siakam’s father passed away from a car accident. This tragedy truly changed Siakam, not only as a person, but as a player.
The 25-year-old carries the honour of his father like a badge. At every game Siakam writes his fathers name on his sneakers, and has engraved the well known hashtag #doingitforyou, on his championship ring, as a way to include his father in all his big moments.
Siakam reflected on his father in an interview after his All-Star announcement “I wish he was here, I kind of hate every time there is a big moment because it feels like there is something missing, but I know he is here, I know he is watching, and I can feel his presence.”
There is no doubt that Tchamo Siakam, the Raptors’ players father, is proud of him. The player has averaged 23.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game, this season alone, all of which have hit career highs since his entrance to the NBA in 2016. In the previous season, Siakam averaged 16.9 points per night and even earned the title of the NBA’s Most Improved Player. And we can’t forget Pascal Siakam’s contribution to the NBA Finals, which led Toronto to their first ever Championship title.
The Toronto Raptors have proven their skills in scouting out talent, and picking out the diamonds in the rough, which only leaves us to question who the next rookie is to shatter the courts. Pascal Siakam has risen in the ranks, and not only is he making his father proud, but all of Toronto is rooting for him. A champion. An All-Star. A Raptor.