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NBA

Gorgui Dieng returns to Senegal for Basketball Without Borders Africa and talks about its importance, the NBA Academy Africa and more

Gorgui Dieng at the Basketball Without Borders Africa Camp
Gorgui Dieng at the Basketball Without Borders Africa Camp (NBA Getty Images)

"We help a lot of people. It's probably, I can say, over five million peoples' lives since we started my foundation. I think that's a good thing," Gorgui Dieng said in an interview with CloseUp360, giving a rough estimation of the number of people he was impacting through his foundation.

Dieng, a forward with the Minnesota Timberwolves, has helped plenty of people through his Gorgui Dieng Foundation, in partnership with MATTER, a Minnesota-based global health non-profit.

A Senegal native, Dieng was back in his country last week for the Basketball Without Borders Camp in Dakar.

The 17th edition of the event in Africa, the BWB camp was also attended by notable NBA players, including Joel Embiid, Malcolm Brogdon, Luol Deng, Ed Davis, Luc Mbah a Moute and retired two-time NBA Champion Chris Bosh.

Three NBA head coaches were also in attendance - Doc Rivers (LA Clippers), Kenny Atkinson (Brooklyn Nets), and David Fizdale (New York Knicks).

"It's important. It's important that we're able to come back in this camp and talk to the kids because we give them hope. We give them that it's possible to make it to the next level," Dieng said when asked the impact of his presence and other NBA players in Dakar for the camp.

Dieng understands the value and importance of these BWB camps.

He was the MVP of a similar BWB camp organised in South Africa in 2009 and since then, his basketball career has taken off. He transferred for the final year of his high school to Huntington Prep in West Virginia and followed it up with three years at Louisville in the NCAA.

Since 2013, after he was picked 21st overall in the NBA Draft, Dieng has been with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Basketball Without Borders Africa was conducted at the NBA Academy Africa in Saly, one that only opened late last year.

"It's great. It's great for the kids, it's great for the community and it's great for NBA players also. We have lack of infrastructure to practice, and now we can go there and work out and spend our vacation time in Saly," Dieng added.

Through his foundation, the Senegal native hopes to do a lot more.

"My goal cannot be bigger than just be happy and healthy, you know? I think that's most important. If you have those two, you can accomplish anything," Dieng said.

For more in-depth player profiles, follow CloseUp360 on Twitter.

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