(FOX 9) - As an athlete, Gorgui Dieng gives it his all on the court every night, but as a humanitarian, Dieng’s generous nature and commitment to his native Senegal is changing lives on a daily basis.
Every day on the court, Dieng faces challenges like guarding some of the best big men in basketball, but his most lasting impact is off the court.
“You can say as much as you want, like you're successful and stuff, but I think a successful man needs somebody that can affect people around him in a good way and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Dieng told FOX 9.
Through the Gorgui Dieng Foundation, the Timberwolves forward aims to benefit his native Senegal.
“All those funds are going to Africa to help people there with health, with agriculture, with education and sports,” he said.
Basketball became Dieng’s ticket out of Africa and while he says life in America has been a dream, Dieng never forgets where he comes from.
Grwoing up in Senegal instilled a strong sense of community in him and that’s why he’s made it his mission to bring some of the blessings he’s received to those who need it most.
“I was exposed to a lot of things and now, when you get here, you got taken care of,” he said. “That’s why that’s inspired me to try to do the same thing because when I get sick or something I can take care of it easily without problem, but when they get sick there, they can’t because of a lack of equipment. That’s what inspired me to just try to make them, like, put them in the same lifestyle that I am.”
Dieng says the funds from the Foundation have grown each passing year, helping thousands of people in his home country.
While progress is being made every day, more needs to be done and, much like life on the court, Dieng says he can’t afford to slow down.
“It doesn’t matter how much we take there or how many containers that we take in Africa, there’s always going to be room for improvement because we’re so far behind and we need to be educated to catch up," Dieng said.
Next Thursday, the fourth annual Gorgui Dieng Gala takes place, which helps raise money towards those in need in his native Senegal.
For more information on tickets to the gala and how you can help raise money for those in need in Senegal, visit this link.