Boris Diaw making a difference in Africa
Jennifer Stewart / USA TODAY Sports

Boris Diaw, 20 fellow NBA players, and two former greats took the stage in Johannesburg on Saturday, as the league held its first-ever exhibition game on African soil.

Leading up to the weekend match, players were afforded the opportunity to engage in various community events as part of the league's NBA Cares and Basketball Without Borders programs. With players and coaches alike relishing the moments they shared with those who came from far and wide to partake in the rare NBA events, Diaw used the trip as a chance to reflect on a decade of altruistic endeavors in Africa.

Boris Babacar Diaw-Riffiod, whose father originates from Senegal, has long been more than just a basketball player. The NBA champion and French National Team captain's off-court interests are as dynamic as his skill set on the hardwood.

Between his love for the finer things in life, his passion for personal health and a knack for children's publications, Diaw has dedicated much time and effort to giving back, especially to his father's home country.

The 33-year-old San Antonio Spurs' forward has done admirable work in Senegal. His Babac'ards foundation has held basketball camps in the West African nation since 2005. In addition to his grassroots work with youths interested in learning the sport, Diaw has focused on projects which offer an academic element to its participants. Earlier this year, Diaw's foundation partnered with Dakar-based SEED Project in order to launch a school for girls.

SEED Academy Girls has enrolled 20 girls between the ages of 13 and 19, and provides educational instruction as well as basketball training. The students are also provided English and leadership classes.

Diaw's mother, Elisabeth Riffiod, who won six club championships as a player in France, is the director of her son's foundation.

"We knew we wanted to help girls in Senegal, and we saw an academy in SEED that uses basketball and really pays attention to education," Diaw said. "We’re doing what we can through sport."

SEED's boys' academy has had a successful track record since 2002, having sent more than 60 students to American colleges. Program alumni include Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng, Austin Spurs (San Antonio's D-League affiliate) center Mouhamed Saer Sene, and Boris' half-brother Paco Diaw.

Basketball is the Senegal's most popular sport among girls (soccer is more popular than basketball for boys). Senegal has won 10 African women’s basketball championships, while no other country has won more than three.

With basketball being used as a teaching tool, and academic achievement being the primary target of his school, Diaw seems to have found the perfect niche for his noble efforts. Count this one as Bobo's biggest assist yet.

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