There’s nothing sports fans love more than an athlete who is a humanitarian. The idea that these physically gifted human beings are using their body, skills and lifetime of dedication to compete for tons of money — just to take sums of that hard-earned money and give it back to their community — is inspiring, to say the least. But after the passing of his father, Suns center Bismack Biyombo is doing just that.
Biyombo announced via his foundation that he would be donating his entire 2021-22 NBA salary towards building a hospital in his homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, to honor his late father. This comes on the heels of Biyombo signing a contract with the Phoenix Suns for the remainder of the season. His deal is worth $1.3 million.
“The goal in life is never to live forever, but to leave something that will live forever.”
–@bismackbiyombo on donating his entire salary towards building a hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in honor of his father.
📺 Full interview here: https://t.co/6nI3FYBhds pic.twitter.com/dYwUAEC4YW
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 12, 2022
Bismack had recently returned to the NBA in January, after stepping away from the game following his father’s death. He was a member of the Charlotte Hornet, but then left the team and became a free agent before eventually taking a hiatus to grieve his father’s passing.
In a video posted to his foundation’s YouTube channel, Biyombo addressed his father’s transitioning and what it meant to him and his basketball career.
“I think once my Dad passed, the love of the game kind of fell a little bit because he was my everything — my friend, my business partner, my mentor and everything,” Biyombo said.
He and his father clearly were very close, and that loss affected him tremendously. it wasn’t all negative.
Biyombo’s love for his native land definitely influenced his decision to build this hospital just as much as honoring his father did.
In his announcement he said:
“I want to be able to give them better conditions so that they can somewhat have hope that their loved ones will be able to live and see another day.”
This came along with him wearing the number 18 on his jersey to honor his father’s June 18 birthdate.
Biyombo added, “I’ve seen how people try to survive daily in the Congo. I thought we were doing enough by refurbishing hospitals and clinics, but I think it’s time we go a little bigger by building something that will service people, hopefully for generations.”
Biyombo definitely has further ambitions of more building in his native home and improving conditions for his family and peers there.
Upon coming back to the game and signing a ten-day contract with the Phoenix Suns, Biyombo impressed them, showcasing strong performances in a much-needed backup role. He’s averaging just under seven points per game, and five rebounds per game in 23 games for the Suns.
This performance led him to earn a contract for the rest of the season, as he gears up to help the Suns make a final push into the playoffs and eventually get back to the finals and win.
Fortune favors the brave, and Biyombo went from being a free agent and mourning the loss of his father, to being a rotation piece on one of the best teams in the league. The Phoenix Suns are betting favorites to return to the NBA Finals, and they will be hungry to settle unfinished business, losing the series last year in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks.
One of the main issues they had in the playoffs and finals last year that ultimately led to their downfall was a lack of size in the paint. They lost multiple big men last year during their playoff run, and by the time they got to the finals they were down to just starter Deandre Ayton and forward Dario Saric, and had no choice but to play small-ball lineups.
Giannis Antetokounmpo made short work of that defense while putting up historic numbers en route to a Milwaukee’s first championship since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and The Big O in 1971. The addition of Biyombo, a seven-year vet, to this Suns squad bolsters their depth at the center position and offers elite paint protection, with Biyombo averaging just under a block per game.
Biyombo will definitely help make an impact on a potential Suns championship run, and more important will be playing for the memory of his father more than anything else. At this point, no matter what Biyombo does from here on out on the court he will be honoring his father, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can’t beat that kind of inspiration.