Pascal Siakam’s Journey to an All-Star Game


Bonnie Chen, Staff Writer

Pascal Siakam, a 25-year-old Cameroonian professional basketball player, had the opportunity to go to his first NBA All-Star game on Feb. 16. Starting out as the 27th pick for the Toronto Raptors in 2016, few expected much from Siakam, not even himself, he admitted. However, his rapid rise in status and popularity in recent years has proven the basketball community wrong. 

“It’s not just the climb. It’s the speed and angle of ascent. Straight up and fast. It’s summiting Mount Everest in half the time,” exclaimed Jeff Zillgit of USA TODAY

As the youngest of six children, Siakam was encouraged by his father along with his brothers to participate in the sport. With a determined father and hard-working mother, Siakam decided it was his responsibility to make them feel proud of their son. Unfortunately, Siakam’s father was lost in a car accident back in 2014. Ever since his passing, Siakam dedicated his basketball career to what he wanted to achieve and accomplish. “It wasn’t about wins and losses and who’s better. It was about honoring him and keeping his legacy alive and making sure I make him proud.”

Although he was not given a spot he preferred, Siakam didn’t let that throw him off focus. “If you’re not trying to be the best then why are you there? It doesn’t matter where you get drafted. I always believed that I could be better than I was. I knew I had to work harder than everybody else not only because I started basketball late but also because I felt like I wasn’t where I was supposed to be,” explained Siakam to USA TODAY.

This advance in his career was predicted and congratulated by all of Siakam’s close friends and family members. His agent, Todd Ramasar, believed that Siakam “has the potential to be a max player and perennial All-Star” from the very beginning. He knew he will be able to witness this “evolution” of Siakam sooner or later, however, unexpectedly, it only took him three years to reach this level of success!

Siakam’s serious and determined effort definitely did not go to waste. Up to Feb. 25, Siakam has scored an average of 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. He was also able to maintain a 50.7% to field goal and 33.7% of a 3-pointer throughout his career. These impressive stats earned him a vital spot to the Toronto Raptors victories; in fact, he is a major contributor to the Raptors’ 15-game winning streak as of Feb. 18. 

“If you don’t put limits on whatever you’re working on — with a certain character, certain work ethic, who you are as a person — there is no limit on what you can do,” said Bobby Webster, the general manager for the Raptors. This has become a truly inspiring act for all sports players with big dreams as Siakam’s success solidifies the fact that if they believe in themselves, there’s a chance that they will eventually reach their goals even with a late start.