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Makhtar Ndiaye: Senegal’s first player in the NBA

Makhtar Ndiaye, first player from Senegal to make the NBA roster.

Makhtar Ndiaye, son of an Olympian mother, began his life journey from Dakar in a neighborhood called Sicap.

In 1999, Makhtar, a boy from Sicap became the first Senegalese player to make it to the NBA.

As the first to walk through those doors, Makhtar paved a path for a generation of young Senegalese athletes to pursue their dreams, opening the window for the NBA to invest in a nation so rich in talent.

Makhtar’s journey has taken him from Dakar, to Paris, Oak Hill Academy, Wake Forest, Michigan’s Fab 5, the University of North Carolina as well as several stops within the NBA as a player, agent, and scout.

Makhtar is a true NBA journeyman. Having seen the game from multiple angles and encountering so many brothers along the way, few men have the depth of relationships and air of respect within NBA circles.

Ndiaye featured in the NBA back in 1999 for the now-defunct Vancouver Grizzlies. He played as a power forward and center.

He went to the United States to play high school basketball at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.

He was recruited to play at Wake Forest by head coach Dave Odom. N’Diaye played under coaches Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge, making the NCAA Tournament Final Four in 1997 and 1998.

After going unselected in the 1998 NBA Draft, N’Diaye signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Grizzlies.

He played 4 games for Vancouver in the lockout-shortened 1999 season before he was traded to the Orlando Magic, who released him before the 1999–2000 season.

He continued his career in Europe, mostly in the French league, save for a season-long stint with the North Charleston Lowgators of the NBA Development League in 2001–02.

He represented Senegal at the FIBA World Championship in 1998 and 2006 and played on the team that won the FIBA Africa Championship in 1997.

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