t has been 16 years since Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay was home.

Born in the war-torn nation of Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mudiay fled for refuge with family members at age 5. But he has returned to the African continent for NBA outreach and personal discovery.

Mudiay will suit up for Team Africa in the 2017 NBA Africa game, the league’s second-ever game on the continent, on Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa — part of an effort by the league to grow the game globally. Earlier this week Mudiay was back in the Congo for the first time with his mother and brothers.

“It’s been something I always wanted to do, come back here (to the continent),” Mudiay said on a conference call. “It just makes you appreciate where you come from.”

His two weeks in the Congo called for reconnecting with his roots. Mudiay reunited with family and saw his grandfather for the first time in years. He witnessed the life his widowed mother, Therese, lived to provide him and his two older brothers a better life in the United States. (She found asylum in the Dallas area in 2001. Emmanuel and his brothers joined her just over a year later).

Mudiay made the trip with Orlando Magic forward Bismack Biyombo, a fellow native of Congo. Biyombo hosted camps for local kids through his foundation.