Warriors rookie sensation Jonathan Kuminga hails from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but it’s not just his home country that’s cheering for the 19-year-old, high-flying forward.
Kuminga says the entire continent of Africa is rooting for his success. Kuminga would know. Having grown up in the city of Goma, he kept an eye on the NBA as best he could, famously watching highlights of Kobe Bryant at his local internet cafe.
Here’s part of what Kuminga said to reporters on the subject, just before leaving for Cleveland to participate in the NBA Rising Stars competition.
Kuminga is one of three players from the grand continent of Africa to participate in NBA All-Saar weekend, joining All-Star center Joel Embiid of the 76ers and Cameroon, and Rising Star Precious Achiuwa of the Raptors and Nigeria — so Kuminga isn’t the only player that feels the love of such a great landmass. But he definitely feels it all the same.
Alex Espinoza of 95.7 The Game in San Francisco reached out via Twitter to see if Kuminga actually does get love from across the Atlantic at places other than his home country.
Of course — and this goes without saying but we’ll make a note — NBA fans from overseas also stay up late to watch Kuminga’s teammate, superstar guard Stephen Curry.
But more and more NBA fans from all over the world, not only the DRC and Africa, are cheering for Kuminga. His awe-inspiring dunks and athleticism get the people going, much more than some of his fellow rookies’ highlights have done.
The No. 7 overall pick had a slow start to his rookie season, trying to break into a loaded Warriors rotation, but his patience has paid off, as he looks to be earning a spot in coach Steve Kerr’s playoff rotation. Through it all, he hasn’t forgotten where he comes from. It’s a source of pride for his fans in the DRC and Africa, and clearly a prideful point for Kuminga as well.