I got a little story for you.
I actually don’t know how many people know this, but right after I got drafted, back in 2014, I thought about walking away from the game. I’m not exaggerating at all. I seriously considered retiring from the NBA before I’d even played one game.
It actually had nothing to do with my injuries. Your body, it heals. It always heals. All that pain is just temporary. Your heart, though? Man — that’s different. It’s a lot more complicated.
When you talk about my life, you have to talk about my brother Arthur. There’s no telling my story without him.
I think we all got that one person in our life who is just always giving off positive energy. That person who is just fun to be around, you know? And who is always rooting for you, no matter what. For me, that was Arthur. Everything always comes back to him. Even if you asked me to go back to the very beginning of this crazy journey from Cameroon to the NBA, it would start with Arthur.
The day that I was supposed to get my big break, when I was 16, I almost messed it all up because all I wanted to do was chill with my brother. When I got invited to Luc Mbah a Moute’s basketball camp — the thing that everybody writes about when they tell my story? They always leave one part out.
I didn’t even show up on the first day of camp. I was way too scared. I actually skipped it so I could sit at home and play FFA with Arthur. Our mom was away on vacation, and she was always so strict about homework, so we had to take that opportunity to just chill and play video games. For me, that was the most fun thing in the world. And it wasn’t like I thought I had any chance of going to the NBA, or even going to college in the States. That wasn’t even a dream. I had no idea that I could even play organized basketball.
So I hid inside my house, and we played FFA all day.
The next day, after my dad found out what happened, he made sure I got my ass to the camp — and then basically my whole life changed.
But for that one day me and Arthur just had fun. And you know what? I could probably remember that afternoon better than I can remember a lot of the biggest basketball moments in my life.