Pascal Siakam was one of the leagues most surprising and inspiring stories last season. After literally coming out of nowhere, Siakam developed into a star seemingly overnight. His hustle and effective play on both ends of the floor was truly recognized by Toronto fans and the organization alike. Not only was he awarded the Most Improved Player Award, but he was a key reason why the Raptors are reigning NBA Champions.
As a result, he was re-signed to a massive $130 million contract to remain with the Raptors.
But many still don't know the story of how he came up and managed to have a terrific season last year. Here is the story of Pascal Siakam.
Born in Cameroon
Siakam was born in the African country of Cameroon, where he wanted to become a priest. Quite a change of career, but his religious upbringing surely played a part in his ability to remain humbled while he found his way to becoming an NBA star.
Discovered by an NBA Player
At the age of 16, which is quite late for most players, he discovered the game of basketball and started playing it seriously. It was not long after he was discovered by current NBA player, Luc Mbah a Moute who encouraged him to make his next major move.
The Move To The U.S.A
Soon after his discovery, Siakam moved to the United States and started playing basketball in his high school in Texas. Surely, he began to receive recognition for his play and it was only a matter of time before he received offers from colleges.
Siakam then played two full seasons at New Mexico State where he was then eligible for the NBA Draft.
Siakam did not have a lot of expectations coming into the draft, falling to number 27 on the draft board that night. Siakam seemed like he had [potential, typical of many players in the draft, but GM's were not sure what he excelled at. Soon after being drafted, he was assigned to the G-League where he actually made a massive impact and won the Finals MVP Award while capturing the G-League Championship.
Not long after, the Toronto Raptors began giving him playing time. His size, skillset, and athleticism at his position was perfect for the current NBA trend of mobile big men. Standing at 6'9", he began to show a lot of promise.
It was not until the 2018-2019 season where Siakam took a jump to be one of the most effective players in his position in the entire NBA. He averaged 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game as a full-time starter for the Raptors. His hustle on both ends of the floor was truly recognized, while he even added a consistent perimeter jumper to his game. Siakam became a player who could do it all, including attacking the basket to score or spot up for open jumpers. His mobility helped him tremendously on defense, and he was a vital cog to the Raptors becoming NBA Champions.
Now, he signed a major $130 million contract to remain with the team that gave him the opportunity to showcase his skillset. Siakam is a perfect example of a player who worked hard to get where he is, and he is an inspiration to all international players wanting to play in the NBA.