Thabo Sefolosha: I Feel a lot of Love in South Africa
Oklahoma City Thunder defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha visited South Africa attending the tenth annual Basketball without Borders in Johannesburg last week. After the camp he headed to Mamelodi to conduct his own life skills programme in the community his father came from. Thabo spoke to NBA Africa about his love for South Africa, preparations for the new season and the passion for the game in Africa.
Pawel Weszka, NBA Africa: How does it feel to be back?
Thabo Sefolosha: It feels great. I havenít had an opportunity to see the people as much as I want to, so now that I am back in South Africa, itís great. Itís like coming back home for me. Last time I was here was three or four years ago and nothing really changed. Itís good to be here.
NBA Africa: You were born in Switzerland, your dad is South African. How strong is your connection with the country of your father?
Sefolosha: I come to South Africa as much as I can. Iím going to start coming back a lot more, I think maybe every other year or every three years. I feel a very strong connection with the country because of my roots, my father and the large family we have here. Even though I didnít grow up here, it really feels like home every time I am coming here. People welcome me with open arms and I feel a lot of love.
NBA Africa: How do you find the tenth Basketball without Borders and the pool of African talent at the camp?
Sefolosha: First of all, the place is great. The court, the baskets, everything is top notch. There really is a lot of talent in Africa and I think the NBA does a good job in bringing them all together and putting together a camp that really teaches the kids something as much on the court as the things they can apply to their lives. I think itís a great programme.
NBA Africa: You had an incredible playoff run with your team last year. What are your aspirations for next season?
Sefolosha: The aspiration is to get back to the final. As a team we keep getting better and thatís the main thing. Weíve got to keep everybody working hard, working on their game and trying to improve to make the team better and thatís what Iíve been doing this summer. Iím really confident about our team. The only thing we can hope for is to get back to the playoffs and win it this time. Thatís the only thing on my mind right now. We missed a good opportunity (last year), letís get back to work and do it a little bit better.
NBA Africa: What would your message be for the kids who look up to you and dream big about becoming a professional basketball player one day?
Sefolosha: If you have a passion for the sport, go for it. Whatever sport it is, itís great for your body and for your mind. It will teach you a lot of things. By all means, go for it and believe in yourself. Anything is possible - you never know where life is going to take you.