Emeka's Final Thoughts From Africa
By Emeka Okafor
Posted Sep 9 2007 7:49PM
Johannesburg, South Africa, Sept. 9 -- It was quite a moving and memorable experience visiting South Africa as we wind down the Basketball Without Borders trip in Johannesburg today (Sunday). Out of all the things we’ve done, whether it was laying brick for houses in a local community, raising AIDS awareness or teaching and hosting various basketball clinics, one of the real highlights for me on this trip was seeing first hand the love for the game that these kids have. We were out on concrete running through drills and you see these kids diving for loose balls, going all out, just showing a great enthusiasm for the game. You realize that it’s not as easy for the kids here to go out and find a court to play basketball as it is for kids in the United States.
Seeing the poverty first hand and how people live really broadens your horizons. You really gain a better understanding of people in general. It was great to work alongside Dikembe Mutombo, who is really an ambassador to the world. He’s given so much to his country and he continues to give back. The reception he received from the local citizens was amazing. The people here are just real appreciative of everything he’s done. I knew all about Dikembe’s good deeds before I entered the NBA but to be here alongside him, helping out, is really special.