Pascal Siakam has yet to play for his native Cameroon internationally, but the NBA All-Star said it’s just a matter of time before the right opportunity comes.
“It’s always open,” the Toronto Raptors big man said at the recent Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global Camp, held during the NBA All-Star weekend. “It’s something that I would always be happy to do. Playing for your country is something I really want to do and it’s something beautiful. I am just waiting for the right opportunity.”
The 25-year-old Siakam actually unofficially represented Cameroon on the international stage when he participated in the BWB Africa camp in 2012 in Johannesburg. And he re-lived that eye-opening moment at the BWB Global camp and hopes the young campers at the NBA All-Star weekend just learned something from him.
Congratulations to former Basketball Without Borders Africa camper Pascal Siakam on winning the NBA Championship. Your journey is an inspiration to young players around the world! #NBAFinalspic.twitter.com/jugP5vjYZP
— NBA Africa (@NBA_Africa) June 14, 2019
Siakam came to the sixth annual BWB Global Camp as a first-time All-Star after having helped the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title last season. And the Cameroon star fondly recalled his time at the BWB Africa camp back in South Africa.
“I was always kind of a reserved kid, so being in an environment like that was so great for me because I saw people that I don’t think I ever saw before. It was so cool to just hang out with people from countries that I knew about but didn’t know much about. And you get to learn about different things. It was awesome,” Siakam said.
“Even just seeing the jerseys you think about what it was like being here. It’s pretty cool to come back and think about it because you can put yourself in their shoes and understand exactly what they are think about.”
The fourth-year NBA player recalled a humorous moment from the camp in 2012.
“It was cool to take the pictures. There is this picture floating around of me and Serge (Ibaka) that we took when I was at BWB. We joked around and I told him that I didn’t know who he was. I just took a picture because everyone was taking a picture with him. And now him being my teammate is fun,” Siakam said.
BWB 2012, future teammates and nba champs Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam. pic.twitter.com/wtMga6Zx4N
— Saga (@ryttrtr) August 1, 2019
Siakam added that he felt a certain responsibility to pass along some lessons to the youngsters in Chicago.
“You think about the NBA when you are that young and coming from such a different place and you only see these NBA guys on TV. They don’t look real. Being in an environment like that and having them talk to you, you can actually see that they are normal people. It really caught my eye when I was there, and I really just wanted to be the same coming back and hopefully these kids can learn something from you. It’s something that you cannot forget.”
Seeing all the campers from all the different countries also reminded Siakam how international the game has become – also at the NBA level.
“We have shown that we’ve come a long way. Obviously the league is doing an amazing job taking the game global. Having so many international players and you look at the All-Star game and all those guys, it’s just an awesome feeling for guys like us. You just hope it continues to go like that and even more,” he added.