Words by Smiley Team
Some athletes seek to build a legacy on the court or on the field, and others are remembered for what they do off the court and the impact they have on their community.
On Friday, March 11, Phoenix Suns backup center Bismack Biyombo publicly announced that he’d be donating his entire 2021-22 season salary to building a hospital in his home country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Biyombo had not played basketball since May of 2021 following the death of his father François. His father contracted Covid-19 in July 2021 and Biyombo flew back to the DRC to be with him but later passed at 61 due to complications following the virus. Biyombo returned to the court in January 2022.
“I think once my Dad passed, the love of the game kind of fell a little bit because he was my everything; my friend, my business partner, my mentor, and everything,” Biyombo said in a video posted to the Bismack Biyombo foundation's YouTube channel.
The hospital is just one dedication to his father, returning to basketball with a number 18 on his jersey in honor of his father’s June 18 birthday.
“I wanted to make this year about my Dad because my Dad spent most of his life making his life about me, my brothers, my sisters, and servicing people,” Biyombo said.
Biyombo’s foundation has aided in Covid relief efforts donating around $1 million worth of medical equipment during the early stages of the pandemic.
"We're just trying to make sure we can save as many lives as we can," Biyombo said in a 2020 interview with Time magazine.
The salary for the 2021-22 season amounts to about $1.36 million and the project will be overseen by the foundation that Biyombo and his father François founded, the aforementioned Bismack Biyombo Foundation.
“Hopefully, we can save as many lives as we can. I know he couldn’t be here to witness that, but I’m sure he’s happy on the other side that I get to do something from this,” Biyombo said after practice following the donation announcement.
DONATE: You can donate to Bismack Biyombo's Foundation, which aims to support children in health and education.
VOLUNTEER: Want to get involved with the Foundation? Get in touch about what opportunities they have.