Title: What fuelled Pascal Siakam’s breakout season and why it’s bigger than basketball
Date: January 22, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Pascal Siakam’s breakout year and the impact he can have at home in Cameroon that drives him.
Pascal Siakam strung out the clock, drove left and rolled the ball high off the glass a fraction of a second before the game’s final buzzer sounded. Fred VanVleet met him near the baseline and delivered a hard two-handed shove to the chest. Kyle Lowry sprinted over with a big smile. The bench cleared. Norman Powell draped Siakam with a hug. Kawhi Leonard went “crazy.” OK, Kawhi Leonard smiled.
Siakam had just scored the first game-winner of his career and was playing it cool. Act like you’ve been there before, and all. And he had, kind of — Siakam had plenty of reps like this when he was the G League Finals MVP in 2017 and over the course of the summer as the Raptors encouraged him to get ready for opportunities like this — but not really. Not like this. Still, outside of some laughter and a spicy shake, Siakam was able to keep an even keel.
“I don’t know. I’m like, it had to happen at some point,” he told The Athletic last week. “I mean, it felt good. It’s not like it’s a different day today. Like, it was cool, it was a cool moment, but I didn’t think it was crazy or anything like that. It definitely feels good when you think about it. It’s pretty awesome.”
Until the phone call came, anyway.