Getting to Know: Thabo Sefolosha

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Thunder guard/forward Thabo Sefolosha grew up in a very eclectic household. He was born and raised in Vevey, Switzerland, to a Swiss mother who is a painter, and an African father who is a musician.

Christine Sefolosha has had her works displayed in numerous galleries and exhibitions across the globe; Patrick Sefolosha is an accomplished vocalist, saxophonist and percussionist who got his start with the African pop band the Malopoets.

A little known fact about Sefolosha’s hometown of Vevey, which is bordered by rivers: it’s home to the world headquarters for Nestle, best known for its chocolates, cereals and Haagen-Dazs ice cream. (Sorry, but we forgot to ask Sefolosha whether he has a natural-born sweet tooth).

And a little known fact about the trilingual (French, Italian and English) Sefolosha: he once played drums in a music band. Don’t hold your breath for a reunion.

We caught up with Sefolosha following the first day of Training Camp 2009 for the first in a series called “Getting To Know."

So you grew up with an accomplished painter and musician as parents. What was it like in that household?
“I guess I grew up like every other kid, but I wasn’t used to seeing my mom going to work at 8 and my dad leaving at 8. It was good. We were always an artistic family, doing different stuff. You know, having musicians coming over the house, having painters coming over the house and stuff like that. It was really the environment of artistic people coming in and out of the house all the time.”

What did your mother like to paint and what kind of music did your father play?
“It’s just different types of paintings. She really just draws what she feels on the inside. She wouldn’t just look at something and draw it. It’s from the inside. My father played mostly South African music and he played saxophone and the drums and he sings also as well. I love his music. I can relate to it.”

What can you tell us about your hometown of Vevey?
“It’s a small, small place. It’s beautiful with the mountains and lakes. And the people are just really nice and laid back. It’s a good place if you want to go and relax on vacation.”

Growing up, did you have any interests outside of sports?
“I used to play the drums and I used to play soccer. I love watching soccer. But I mostly was on the court when I was young.”

Were you ever in a band?
“I used to be for a little while but then I stopped that. I was about 15, maybe. It was for about a year. We didn’t have a name. We did maybe two or three concerts in Switzerland and I played the drums.”

Who was your favorite drummer growing up?
“Well my dad took me to see Trilok Gurtu, he’s an Indian guy who plays on stuff that he finds, actually. They’re not real drums. It’s just things that he finds and he plays on it.”