Born in Senegal, Amadou Gallo Fall played college basketball for “The Firebirds” of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) in Washington, D.C.
And while he’s traveled all over the world since lining up at center for UDC, Amadou told me this morning here in Johannesburg how Washington is one of his favorite cities and he would like to visit more often.
In his role as NBA Vice President & Managing Director for Africa, Amadou is busy this week helping coordinate the 16th edition of Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa and the NBA Africa Game 2018.
Fall’s friend, Hall of Fame basketball player Dikembe Mutombo, is scheduled to participate in both events.
Like Amadou, Dikembe played college basketball in Washington, D.C., for Georgetown University.
And like Amadou, Dikembe also once thought he might go to medical school. But basketball changed their career paths.
In an interview last year with Marc J. Spears for The Undefeated, Fall said, “My dreams and aspirations were very different growing up. I wanted to go to medical school in the program Doctors Without Borders. The game opened my eyes to realize that whatever I wanted to do through medicine, I can do it faster through sports.”
Fall credits African players like Mutombo, Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon and Luol Deng with helping fuel the dreams and aspirations of a whole new generation of young players on the continent.
Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam are two young Cameroonian players who will compete in the NBA Africa Game 2018 on August 4.
The 24-year-old Embiid, a center for the Philadelphia 76ers, earned his first NBA all-star selection last season after going to the Basketball Without Borders Africa camp in 2011.
And the 24-year-old Siakam, a forward for the Toronto Raptors, went to the Basketball Without Borders Africa camp in 2012.
The campers at Basketball Without Borders Africa 2018 will be trying to improve not just their basketball skills, but also their life skills.
There will be seminars on such topics as leadership, gender equity, character development and HIV/AIDS prevention.