Angola has long been the dominant basketball nation in Africa — 11 times in the last 13 years the country has won the continental championship. There have been appearances at world championships and Olympics the small nation has distinguished itself compared to larger more famous nations. So it would seem a bit incongruous that Carlos Morais a gifted international scorer the most valuable player at this summer’s Afrobasket tournament a 27-year-old who has been with his national team program in some way for almost half his life is just now trying to become the first Angolan to play in the NBA. Obviously the country has exceptional players but it could very well be a case that its success and the popularity of the game is something of a hindrance to global success. “He’s paid well over there which means the league is good so the kids aspire to play in their leagues” said Raptors general manager and Nigerian basketball icon Masai Ujiri. “It’s like rather than come to play in high school (in North America) why don’t I stay there and play in the league and make some money. I think that’s sometimes the way they look at it over there.” But there is always a need for a first a trailblazer someone who does for Angolan basketball what say Hakeem Olajuwon did for Nigerian basketball; someone who makes it and the country can rally around. He carries at a responsibility and Morais wouldn’t mind being that guy and wishes he could have had a shot long ago.
Raptors’ Carlos Morais hopes to be first Angolan to play in the NBA
Toronto Star | Oct 5