NBA Star Wenyen: I am ready to play for South Sudan
Los Angeles Lakers power forward, Wenyen Gabriel, is ready to represent South Sudan at the senior level.
Wenyen, who also holds an American passport, said he would turn up when called upon to represent his motherland.
Wenyen was born in Khartoum in 1997 before his parents relocated to the United States.
But the superstar will be playing alongside LeBron James this coming season.
He penned a two-year contract with the Lakers last April.
Despite representing the US at a junior level, the Kentucky University alumnus said he will represent South Sudan at the senior level.
“The first window (last year) when I was going to play [for South Sudan] was when I was injured. I couldn’t play during that time,” Wenyen told City Review.
This coming window is the opportunity that I can come to play for the team and knowing that there are still more future things.
“They [national team] didn’t need me yet in the last games; we didn’t lose any games. But as we get closer to qualifying for the World Cup and in the future, playing in the Olympics, that’s where it’s going to call for more of us to come, all professional players in the NBA, in the future to come to play for the national team.
“If I am not in the next one, I will be in the following one depending on the good decision we will make together.”
He said that he missed the last assignment to concentrate on securing a contract with the Lakers—the 16-time NBA Champions.
“I was on a non-guaranteed contract and I was trying to make sure that I was going to be on the team with the Lakers this year,” he added.
Wenyen returned to South Sudan for the first time since his mother escaped to Cairo when he was just two weeks old.
During his 10-day visit to Juba, the NBA star will conduct a four-day basketball clinic for the budding player before returning to the US to begin preparations ahead of the upcoming season.
“I still have to get back to training for the basketball season coming up with the Lakers, but I’m going to come back after that,” he added.
The clinic camps will run from July 22 and July 24 – at Dr Bair Sports Complex and Juba Basketball Stadium.
Wenyen stated that he wanted to do a basketball camp in Juba to be in touch with the community and to build better things in the future.
This is just a stepping stone for plans that we want to do here in the city. I want to absorb and learn everything about culture for the other communities to get to know where I am from.”
According to him, his camp will be mainly focused on the youth to show how basketball can help change different lives.
“I want to show how basketball can help change the minds of young South Sudanese and hopefully if it can help change the next person’s life and do different things by falling in the footsteps of those who came earlier. I want to keep bringing new things through basketball to our country,” he said.
The NBA star added that he would like to use the camp to create awareness of the positive stories going on in South Sudan.
“We have a lot of displaced people (IDPs) here and in countries around us, and people don’t know what is going on here.” I want to draw more attention to that.”