“Everything I do, I do for my family, I do for my country."
The Phoenix Suns have one of the most culturally diverse rosters in the NBA with players from Australia, the Bahamas, Croatia, France, Mali and Spain to name a few. Just as the team continuously strives to give back to the Phoenix community, these players are also reaching out to extend their charitable efforts around the globe.
Fresh out of the Orlando bubble, Cheick Diallo became the most recent Sun to announce his own charity, The Cheick Diallo Foundation (CD13 Foundation), dedicated to providing assistance in his home country of Mali.
“I started the CD13 Foundation because there's a lot going on in my country in Mali,” Diallo stated. “That's where I grew up and I feel like I can use my platform to give my country and my community a better life. This is something I've really wanted to do and I think it's the right time.”
As a child, Diallo experienced first-hand the day-to-day difficulties growing up in a less developed nation. Diallo and his community constantly faced the challenge of finding access to a clean water source and fresh food. They also needed assistance when it came to education and being given the opportunity for a healthier lifestyle.
“Growing up in Mali, I didn't have a lot of choices,” Diallo said. “We didn't have a lot of opportunities, especially in West Africa. If you’ve never been there, it's hard. Sometimes I would think, 'What are we going to eat the next day?' The food - that was a really, really big deal.”
Diallo has been waiting for the right opportunity to return home and give back to his community. This offseason has finally given him that chance.
“After the bubble, I was thinking it was time for me to go back to my country, especially in my hometown, Kayes,” Diallo said. “It’s just time for me to do something special for my country. That’s the CD13 Foundation. It was a great experience for me. That was something that was so special to me and it was special to my family, my country and my community.”
Diallo is just one of two NBA players ever from Mali and the only active Malian currently in the league. Due to this, Diallo feels the importance of being a role model for all of those back home that look up to him as an inspiration.
“The pressure is high,” Diallo said. “It feels good, but at the same time, I'm kind of nervous. I don't want to make any mistakes because people follow in my footsteps. So, I always want to be a great example for the people in my home country.”
The Cheick Diallo Foundation has just recently been announced, but they’re already hard at work to provide all they can for Diallo’s hometown community.
“I have a few things set up that is going to help a lot of stuff, especially single moms, homeless people and education,” Diallo said. “Education is so important. I'm trying to build a school and have clean water. In Mali, it's really hard to get clean water. I'm trying to give my country better hope. That's my passion, that's my dream, that's my everything. Everything I do, I do for my family, I do for my country.”
For more information on The Cheick Diallo Foundation visit: CheickDialloFoundation.com.
Our mission is to use our platform and resources to educate, empower and serve youth around the world. Using basketball as a motivating force, we strive to provide opportunities of growth and development to children who live in underserved communities.