The role player: an important part of the NBA that seems lost on a generation of superstars. While some players can do it all, many are better suited to their own roles. Bismack Biyombo perfectly represents the role player persona. Additionally, Biyombo is only the fifth ever Congolese player to play in the NBA, which he carries with pride. His 82 game season and playoff success have brought him into the spotlight and made him my Athlete CRUSH for his Uniqueness both for his style of play and the country he represents on and off the court.
A recent analytical study of NBA players showed that there are 13 different types of roles players take on in the NBA, including defensive ball handler, scoring rebounder, and paint protector. Bismack Biyombo of the Toronto Raptors fully embodies the role of paint protector, providing strong rebounding skills on both ends of the court and the ability to block shots. At 6’9” and 245 lbs, Biyombo represents the new face of the NBA centers: built more like a power forward would have been approximately 10 years ago.
But much like fellow paint protector Serge Ibaka (who measures in at 6’10”, 245 lbs.), Biyombo’s long wingspan of 7’7” and ability to find the ball on rebounds has made him incredibly vital to the great play of the Toronto Raptors this season. This was particularly evident in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, when Biyombo grabbed 26 rebounds, to go along with 7 points and 4 blocks. Check out the highlights from his big night:
Watching his unique style of play is enjoyable for basketball fans everywhere. Although his strong interior play is an aspect of the game that the NBA has recently moved away from, with so many big men shifting to become mid-range and 3-point shooters, Biyombo’s style of play is one of my favorites because it currently differs from the norm yet still has a crucial impact on the game. Biyombo’s Uniqueness extends beyond his playing style, as he is one of only 5 players in NBA history from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The most notable player to ever come out of the Democratic Republic of Congo was Dikembe Mutumbo, whose style of play is similar to Biyombo’s.
In a recent game in the Eastern Conference Finals, Biyombo borrowed Mutumbo’s famous finger wag. This prompted Mutumbo to comment on his fellow Congolese compatriot, noting that he “can copy something [he] like[s]…Bismack is my youngest brother. I have nothing to be mad at him for. I’m so proud of him. We’re from the same country [Congo], and I call and text him every day to congratulate him because I’m so proud of him.”(ESPN). Clearly, this Congolese camaraderie represents a special bond that both players treat with pride. Additionally, Biyombo works with charities in Congo, such as the Eastern Congo Initiative, which allows him to give back to his country and the culture which he still remains a part of. (For more NBA player charity involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa, make sure to check out Athlete CRUSH’s Stephen Curry article http://www.athletecrush.com/basketball/athlete-crush-stephen-curry/ )
Witnessing Biyombo play, he possesses an energy that is so fun to watch. As a role player, he has found his own way to help the Raptors win and make a great run in the playoffs. Knowing that he is one of few people from Congo to have played in the NBA makes him that much more unique to me, as he represents his country and shows pride in what he does. With the Raptors playoff run this year and his upcoming free agency, while only being 23 years old, the world is going to know more about my Athlete CRUSH Bismack Biyombo real soon.
Posted 27 May 2016