Many may not have heard about Toronto Raptors reserve centre, Bismack Biyombo. But this changed when the Raptors reached the Eastern Conference finals.
The finals and the fact that the Raptors first-choice Centre Jonas Valanciunas got an ankle injury, conspired to hand Biyombo a chance of a life time. And he took it with both hands.
Biyombo was born in August 1992, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire). The 6 foot 9-inch player speaks five languages; Spanish, English, French, Swahili and Lingala. He started playing basketball at an early age, spurred by his father and uncle who played in the first division.
A Portuguese coach spotted Biyombo at a youth tournament in Yemen when he was 16 years.
The international coach opened doors for Biyombo in Spain where he played for three seasons in two Spanish first league clubs until Sacramento Kings signed him in 2011.
He, however, was traded in and moved to Charlotte Bobcats, where his performance dipped in the 2013-14 season forcing the Bobcats to release him.
Raptors signed him as a reserve centre in June 2015 as a free agent for slightly less than $3 million a year, which is way low for a player of his caliber. (Valanciunas is at $64 million).
Biyombo’s pay is bound to sky rocket from the current $2.8M (Sh295M) annual salary especially after his impressive performance in the playoffs. In addition, the NBA is set to bump up the salary cap of players with new TV contracts coming in.
Pundits are already discussing his next move with some saying he can get a $60M (Sh6.5 Billion) contract although others say Raptors may not afford him considering Valanciunas is back in shape. But there are other teams that will be ready to snap him up including Lakers and Celtics.
The six foot nine defensive player has been instrumental in helping Raptors take on favorites Cleveland Cavaliers, with an impressive average of 12.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in the finals.
Biyombo is following in the footsteps of compatriot and NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo who is regarded as one of the best shot blockers and defensive players of all time.