Jonathon Kuminga has seen a lot, he’s a very mature 18-year-old rookie


Jonathan kuminga turns heads in the Summer League with his athleticism and potential. The flaws on the pitch that made teams hesitate and Kuminga fell to the Warriors at No.7 – the lack of a consistent 3-point shot, disinterested expanses of defense – were obvious but also felt like only things he would grow and evolve beyond.

Some teams also had concerns off the pitch about how Kuminga might be a little lonely and how he might fit into an NBA locker room. It’s something Conner Letourneau mentions in a must-see profile of Kuminga in the San Francisco Chronicle, but those worries seem short-sighted as you learn about Kuminga and his background.

He was born and raised until the age of 13 in Goma, Congo, a country of political instability – Kuminga spoke of the rebels and government troops fighting in the streets of his town. The United Nations World Food Program estimates that 90% of the population living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has food instability at some level, with 3.4 million children facing malnutrition. Struggling to find enough food, being hungry, is something Kuminga remembers well.

There is only one indoor basketball court in Congo and it is not in Goma – Kuminga learned to play on an outdoor cement court where the basket was literally a laundry basket nailed to a pole . He left his family at 13 to play on a scholarship in the NBA, then last season for the G-League Ignite, in the hopes of making enough money to help his family back home. Last season, when a volcano erupted near Goma, he donated much of the $ 500,000 he received last season to help those who stay at home.

He is an 18-year-old young adult who has seen a lot, which is evident from the article, and which contrasts with everything Las Vegas and the Summer League.

“I’m too old for these [Vegas] streets, ”Kuminga said. “It’s just the way I look at myself. I am no longer that young boy.

“It’s hard to understand when someone complains to you that their parents didn’t buy them the type of car they wanted,” Kuminga said. “I know what a real fight looks like. Don’t have any money. Not having food. Here is a whole different world.

Kuminga may well follow in the footsteps of Biyombo Biyombo and Dikembe Mutombo, who have built schools and hospitals in DRC, trying to impact life on the ground and impact social and political change from below. He presents himself as someone with that kind of maturity.

Part of making enough money to make a real difference will come with Kuminga playing maturity in the NBA. Landing in a team of Warriors with veteran voices such as Draymond Green and André Iguodala will help – real mentors for a young player.

Read Kuminga’s full profile in the Chronicle and it’s hard not to take root for this recruit to find their way, as it can inspire and help so many others – so many other teens who have already seen and lived the value of a lifetime – to find their way and improve their world.

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