Chris Silva was moved to tears on Friday afternoon during the Miami Heat’s shootaround ahead of their game against the Indiana Pacers.
Silva, a Gabon native, had just been reunited with his mom for the first time in three years.
It’s been 3 years since @SilvaObame has seen his mother. Tonight they reunited and it was everything you could imagine and more.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 28, 2019
Thanks to @NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Sr. VP of Int Basketball Operations Kimberly Bohuny with the support of @NBA_Africa for making it happen. pic.twitter.com/aIFvIpgd3x
Silva, an undrafted rookie out of South Carolina, is playing with the Heat under a two-way contract this season. He’s averaged 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 25 games.
The 23-year-old left his home country of Gabon when he was 16 in an attempt to make it to the NBA, leaving his parents and siblings behind to play at a New Jersey high school in a country where he didn’t know the language. He returned once for two weeks when he was a sophomore at South Carolina to get his visa renewed, but hasn’t seen his family since.
“Two weeks felt like two days, to be honest,” Silva said earlier this month, via the Miami Herald. “I don’t think anybody besides my uncle has ever seen me play basketball.”
So, thanks to NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Africa, the league helped Silva’s mom travel more than 6,300 miles to see her son during their back-to-back games against the Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers.
While Silva’s career in the league is just beginning, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said it was one of the most unique backstories he’s ever heard from a player. When he first sat down with the 6-foot-8 forward this summer, it gave him goosebumps.
“That must be so scary,” Spoelstra said, via the Miami Herald. “Coming to a new country as a high school student, not knowing the language, not knowing really anything about where you’re going and being dropped off and then having to have the grit and resourcefulness to make it happen without going back, without looking in the rear-view mirror and then without have the day-to-day support of your closest ones with you on this dream and this journey.
“Once you learn his story, you want to even do more for him and help him on this journey. That’s the kind of quality human being he is. It’s a really unique backstory, how he has been over here basically without his family and just willing his dream.”
Even though it’s been tough at times throughout the years, Silva refuses to give up.
It’s his family that’s kept him going.
“Usually when I get to know a city, I like to find a circle where I can just run for hours,” Silva said, via the Miami Herald. “Most of the time, I just think about my family when it gets hard. It just gets me going.
“I don’t like to get tired. If I get tired, I’m going to find a way to come back and try to get more work in.”
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