French Fans Fly To Visit Mbah A Moute In Minnesota

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Wolves forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had a special scenario take place prior to Tuesday’s 112-101 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at Target Center. Mbah a Moute had a group of 12 teenagers from France make the trip to the United States to meet him and take in a Timberwolves game, and he had a hand in making that happen.

The group, which is part of the Basket-club Nyonsais, was a group of kids ages 15-18 that began following Mbah a Moute thanks in part to a friend of his who played for that club when he was younger. The group originally made plans to watch Mbah a Moute when he played for Milwaukee, but he was traded to Sacramento in the offseason. They then planned to see the Kings play in Brooklyn and Philadelphia this week and purchased their plane tickets to travel to New York and Philly, but Mbah a Moute was traded to Minnesota in November.

When he heard about their attempts to come see him in America, he decided to purchase their additional plane tickets to get them to Minnesota. He then met up with them for dinner the night before the game, brought them into Target Center early on game day and hung out with them before the Bucks contest.

He couldn’t believe the dedication the group showed to coming over here to meet him.

“I thought it was amazing. A lot of those kids are also from Africa originally, so just being fans of a fellow African in the NBA,” said Mbah a Moute, who is originally from Cameroon. “My story, how I made it in the NBA. All that stuff, and also being friends with one of the guys in the club helped, too.”

He and Ronny Turiaf, both French-speaking players on this Wolves team, met up with the group on Monday night and had dinner with the kids. They then got a chance to go in the locker room during the team’s pregame routine, and they had seats in Section 133 during the game itself. They brought signs, and they were shown on the big screen during the game.

When it comes to the Wolves’ “Don’t Miss A Moment” message, this group from an area near Avignon in the south of France got a chance to see it in person on a special night at Target Center.

For the kids, getting to meet Mbah a Moute was a dream come true.

“For two years, we were interested by Luc Mbah a Moute,” Teo Lemaitre said. “Today, for the first time, I can see Luc play in life. We are so excited because it’s the first time.”

Azzedine El Manssouri, also part of the group, agreed.

“It was very exciting when we sat with him and see him,” Manssouri said. “We can talk with him. He’s very accessible. And it’s amazing.”

Mbah a Moute talked with the kids about his journey to the NBA, and he also talked to them about the culture here in America. This was the group’s first trip to the U.S., so they were able to see New York and Minnesota before heading back to Philadelphia. He said they talked about the experience and what they learned while coming here.

For Mbah a Moute, he said it was finally nice to meet them and give them a memorable night at an NBA arena.

“That always brings a smile, you know?” Mbah a Moute said. “Having these kids come out, it’s fun. I’ve learned a lot about these kids since last year. But to have it happen actually is pretty special….They’ve done a lot of stuff there, and I plan to get there in the offseason to visit them there, so it should be fun, too.”

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