Title: Raptors’ Ishmail Wainright is a walking culture-builder: ‘Everyone wants to cheer for a guy like that’
Date: August 25, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Ishmail Wainright, the Raptors hopeful who brings culture with him everywhere he goes.
Ishmail Wainright didn’t have to be in Morocco.
Really, you could argue he shouldn’t have been. Wainright had just finished his season with Strasbourg IG of the French Jeep Elite and Basketball Champions leagues two weeks earlier. In a few weeks, he’d be in Las Vegas, attempting to make his NBA dream come true with the Toronto Raptors. Going all the way to Morocco, with only quick breathers at home in Kansas City and then the Dominican Republic, in between major career events, amid a pandemic, was a risk. And it was for just one game.
Wainright was there, however, leading the Uganda national team to a 94-90 victory against Morocco. Due to COVID-related cancellations, Uganda’s pool for qualification into the 2021 AfroBasket tournament had been dramatically adjusted. The game against the Moroccans was a winner-take-all affair, a single game to determine if Uganda would participate in the African championships for just the third time in their history.