The night Giannis Antetokounmpo won the NBA Finals, a 6 foot 10 Senegalese 16-year old posted on his Instagram the timeline of Giannis’s success. This 6 foot 10 Senegalese child is named Dame Salane, and he’s gone mildly viral on Instagram. Videos of his long frame shooting into a tire have led him to 20k followers and thousands of views over multiple accounts.
For weeks I’ve been DM’ing Dame about life in Senegal and his NBA ambitions, knowing full well the path that Joel Embiid took from Cameroon to Philadelphia, and that Luol Deng took from Sudan to the Chicago Bulls. As a long time basketball fan, when I saw Dame Salane – I saw the intangibles of a professional hooper, the frame of a young Kevin Durant, and a victim of the poverty imposed on the global south.
So – I invite you to meet Dame Salane:
Jason: Who are you?
Dame: My name is Dame Salane, from the City of Dakar.
J: How long have you played basketball and who are your favorite players?
D: 2 years and my favorite players are Giannis, Kevin Durant, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Ja Morant – my dream is to reach the NBA.
J: Have you spoken to American recruiters?
J: Tell me about your daily life.
D: I’m a student. I go to Italy during the Summer for holidays and have Italian nationality. Training (basketball) every single day.
J: What makes you happy?
D: When my parents are happy, I am happy. When my family is happy, I am happy. Also, video games like GTA5 and San Andreas.
J: Do you have a favorite food?
D: Yes, two! Italian “pasta” and Senegalese “mafé.”
J: What should Americans know about Senegal?
D: Senegal got kids that can play basketball but they haven’t any money, you understand? My English isn’t very good Lol. We are loyal and the Senegal is a country of peace and freedom.
J: Don’t worry about your English – it’s fine. Is there anything else people should know about you?
D: Tell the people I’m arriving and tell them that I will be the best basketball player of all time.
From his mouth to your ears, I present to America – Dame Salane, a 16 year old from Senegal whose 6 foot 10 inches tall and has never spoken to an American recruiter. Is he the next Giannis? Will he get his chance? Follow his journey on Instagram.
Daryl Morey… Dame Salane is headed to Italy on vacation, maybe you should take a trip.