In Pascal Siakam's ascension to NBA superstar and Toronto idol, he's made a point to keep honouring his values and heritage.
A former recipient of the NBA Cares Community Assist Award, Siakam keeps striving to push the goal of education and opportunity as paths for greatness both in Canada and his native Cameroon.
Driven by the goal of using education to achieve greatness, the Toronto Raptors forward has worked to help children and teenagers realize their potential by way of literacy, life skills, and sports. The latest display of those efforts comes through another interest of Siakam's: sneakers.
Siakam's own not-for-profit, The PS43 Foundation, announced on Wednesday that it has partnered up with The Kickback Foundation to provide the organization with funds for future initiatives as well as 30 pairs of sneakers through a donation at the start of 2022.
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"Coming from humble beginnings, where sneakers were scarce and hard to find in Africa, I could not be happier to support a cause that exemplifies ambition at a high level," Siakam said through a press release. " ... this is what life is about; helping each other in as many ways as possible, especially our youth."
The Kickback Foundation is a grassroots initiative born in Toronto working to engage underserved communities through sneaker culture, creating non-traditional, plural, and educational experiences to young people of different backgrounds.
Siakam sees a lot in common between himself and the youth-led group. His pledge intends to help grow their shared pillars of education, elevated life skills, and sport, as well as grant the foundation some long-term wherewithal.
"Sometimes the basic necessities, you know, we don't have them," said Siakam. "For me, it's more than a donation. It's a commitment to the kids."
At first, COVID-19 had something to say about Siakam's initiative.
Though the financial aid of $25,000 was handed out back in January, when the partnership was first announced, the sneaker donation needed to be postponed due to the rise of omicron and COVID-19 in Canada.
This is just the latest in a series of charity partnerships Siakam has partaken in since joining the Raptors in 2016. The former 27th-overall pick's community engagement includes a coding program, several financial pledges to health-care institutions, and an active role in the NBA' s Giants of Africa program.
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