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In the Spotlight: Bismack Biyombo

Sports and Love of Country

Bismack Biyombo Sumba (born August 28, 1992) is a Congolese professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in North America. He was selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings and subsequently traded to the Charlotte Bobcats (now Charlotte Hornets).

Bismack Biyombo grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, dreaming about playing in the NBA. Contributing editor Soledad O’Brien follows him on a trip back to his home country to see how new initiatives and investments are helping transform the lives of the Congolese.

Making it big in the NBA, Bismack Biyombo goes home to Congo to help

Biyombo, who was born in Lubumbashi, was discovered by international coach Mário Palma at the age of 16 at a youth tournament in Yemen. His play impressed Palma and earned him an opportunity to train in Spain. Biyombo started the 2009–10 season with Fuenlabrada-Getafe Madrid of the EBA before moving to CB Illescas of the LEB Silver league. He also started the 2010–11 season with CB Illescas before moving to Baloncesto Fuenlabrada of the ACB league in January 2011.

At the 2011 Nike Hoops Summit, Biyombo participated for the World Select Team (against the USA Select Team), and recorded a triple double, with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 blocks. It was the first recorded triple-double in the Summit’s history.

Toronto Raptors

On July 18, 2015, Biyombo signed with the Toronto Raptors. On August 1, 2015, he played for Team Africa at the 2015 NBA Africa exhibition game. He made his debut for the Raptors in the team’s season opener against the Indiana Pacers on October 28, recording 7 points and 5 rebounds in a 106–99 win. Biyombo started in 18 straight games between mid-November and late December while Jonas Valančiūnas was recovering from a fractured hand. On December 17, he recorded 8 points, a then career-high 18 rebounds and a career-high tying 7 blocks in a loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Five days later, he recorded 9 points and a then career-high 20 rebounds in a 103–99 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Biyombo returned to a bench role on December 30. He returned to the starting line-up in mid-March with Valančiūnas out injured again. On March 17, 2016, Biyombo scored a career-high 16 points and set a franchise record with 25 rebounds in guiding the Raptors to a 101–94 overtime win over the Indiana Pacers. On March 30, he recorded seven points and six rebounds in a 105–97 win over the Atlanta Hawks, helping the Raptors record a 50-win season for the first time in franchise history.

The Raptors finished the regular season as the second seed in the Eastern Conference with a 56–26 record. In the first round of the playoffs, the Raptors faced the seventh-seeded Indiana Pacers, and in a Game 5 win on April 26, Biyombo recorded 10 points and 16 rebounds off the bench to help the Raptors take a 3–2 series lead. The Raptors went on to win the series 4–3, moving on to the second round where they faced the Miami Heat. In Game 7 of the Raptors’ series with the Heat, Biyombo recorded 17 points and 16 rebounds as a starter in a 116–89 win, helping the Raptors advance to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history. In Game 3 of the conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Biyombo set a Toronto playoff record with 26 rebounds, helping the Raptors cut the Cavaliers’ advantage in the series to 2–1.

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Bismack Biyombo has taken the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals by storm. The former first-round pick has become the talk of the Toronto Raptors surprising resurgence against the Cleveland Cavaliers, with his unbelievable effort on the defensive end and his rebounding prowess.

In a 99-84 Raptors win in Game 3, Biyombo played 39 minutes and scored just seven points, but hauled in an insane 26 rebounds while blocking four shots. In Monday’s 105-99 Game 4 win, he played 42 minutes and scored just five points, but blocked three shots and grabbed 14 boards.

He’s finger-wagging his way into the hearts of NBA fans everywhere.


Source: PBS News Hour, Wikipedia, TBL, NBA

This post is also available in: French

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