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Rapots news: Team president Masai Ujiri admits he didn’t know if Pascal Siakam was an NBA player

Pascal Siakam, Raptors

Pascal Siakam’s journey to the NBA was a long and difficult one. He came from Cameroon, abut 6,000 miles away from where he plays now — for the Toronto Raptors.

But now that he’s a bench player on one of the best teams in the NBA, he’s having the time of his life, and working hard to become a better player. There was, however, some doubt that from Raptors president Masai Ujiri that Siakam would ever make it to the league, per Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.

“I will tell you honestly,” says Masai Ujiri, Toronto’s president, “when I saw Pascal in Basketball Without Borders [in 2012], I couldn’t even tell you if he was an NBA player. That’s how incredible his story is.”

Siakam wasn’t even supposed to play basketball at all. He was all set to have a life as a religious leader, per MacMullan.

Siakam was never slated to play professional basketball — he was supposed to be a priest. His father, Tchamo, enrolled him in a seminary in the remote village of Bafia, Cameroon, when he was 11 years old. He would remain there for the next seven years, hand-picked to embody his family’s Catholicism.

The entirety of Siakam’s story is incredible, so fans should really read MacMullan’s piece. It’s a wonderful read about a guy who beat all the odds to get into the NBA.

There are many stories like Siakam’s around the league. Sometimes we forget that many of the players in the NBA came from difficult situations and are now in the NBA because they worked their tails off to be great at what they do.

Siakam’s story is yet another reminder of that.