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Kings rookie Skal Labissiere shares his experience during the tragic Haiti earthquake in 2010

Skal Labissiere

The Sacramento Kings had one of their more memorable drafts in recent memory, using three picks in the first round. They obtained some promising talent in Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson, and Skal Labissiere. Among the three rookies, Labissiere has arguably made Kings fans the most excited for this coming season. He played well during the Summer League and turned a lot of heads with his style of play.

The former Kentucky Wildcat and Lausanne Collegiate School product has one of the best stories of resiliency as part of his past. He grew up Haiti and was lucky to survive the devastating earthquake the country experienced back in 2010. Here is an excerpt from the his interview with Vice Sports, which narrates what Labissiere had gone through during that unfortunate time:

“Then the earthquake struck. A wall collapsed on Labissiere’s back, and forced him into a crouch that would make his legs go numb for weeks. Underneath the rubble, he couldn’t see a thing. He couldn’t move. The only hint of the outside world were screams: cries for help from families, friends, a whole community of voices outside, pleading for familiar voices to respond. Labissiere and his family, trapped inside, were screaming only for recognition, signaling for anyone at all who could hear them to help. Labissiere did this, too, until the moment came when he stopped believing help would arrive.

“After 30 minutes or so, I just physically gave up,” he says. There’s no point in trying to scream, he remembers thinking. Nobody’s gonna hear us. Stuck in that crouch, Labissiere’s faith numbed with his legs. He pictured the end—of his dreams of basketball and the future, and of his life. He assumed that his father, nowhere in sight, was already gone.

“That’s when my dad came on top of the rubble and yelled my mom’s name out,” Labissiere says. “[It] definitely opens your eyes about life. Before that, me and my little brother complained about things that we didn’t have. After that experience, we were way more thankful for life. You see how quickly things can change, whether it’s from good to bad or bad to good.”

Even after that trying time, the 20-year old forward/center did not allow it to dictate his future and he became one of the most sought-after recruits in his high school class. His positive attitude and drive to be the best player he can be is something the Kings need in order for them to be successful in the years to come.

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