Bits from Tyrone Corbin Interview, 8/30
Interview conducted by David Locke.
Where are you? Where have you been? What type of communities are you in?
Well, right now, we’re still, we came into Johannesburg, and we’re still just outside of Johannesburg in one of the little towns I can’t say. I think it’s Rosebank* is the name of the town that we’re staying in.
But we have a camp at a school called St. Mary’s, and it’s outdoor gym, kinda outdoor courts, but, and we have clinics in the morning, and then we play, we actually, this afternoon, we played games. Yesterday we played kind of pick-up stuff…
While I was here, they went to an orphanage today to give the kids, to visit the kids and to give some gifts to those guys.
* Not 100 percent sure he said Rosebank, but if he did, Wikipedia describes Rosebank as a “cosmopolitan commercial and residential suburb” with “several high-end shopping malls,” “various high end hotels,” and “a thriving nightlife.”
Is it a depressed area? Is it a surburban of a major city? What is the atmosphere amongst where you’re working?
The area that we’re having the camp at is pretty nice area. St. Mary’s is actually a private school that they put the courts on to. But you get a chance, the kids come from all over the country of Africa. So, I mean, all over the continent of Africa. So they’re from different countries in Africa.
And it’s the top 60 kids in the con–on the continent. So they could be from Rwanda, from Nigeria, from Egypt. They’re from all over the continent. So they are coming into, to Johannesburg, and it’s a huge experience for those guys…to get a chance to experience how NBA life can be. …
Basketball’s actually growing [in South Africa], and they talked about how they can continue to grow it as a recreational sport for the kids in this country. And not only the country, but throughout Africa.
So it, the excitement is huge and wanna get their percentages up to the, you know, the high numbers like China has been growing basketball in that continent–in that country.
Have you had your “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” moment?
Yes. I had that when I got on the plane from, we took a flight from Washington D.C. to Dubai. Not Dubai. Darkar. Dakar. And then, it was like 7.5 hours, so I thought, and then back to coast of Africa up north, so I thought we were close.
And then we get back on the plane, or we get back, ready to take off again, and they say we have 8.5 hours to get to Johannesburg. I’m like, “Oh my goodness. I’m out of the U.S., buddy.”
Do these kids know who Al Horford, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Serge Ibaka and Kyrie Irving are?
From what I understand, they don’t have any idea. These guys, they’re from 16-18 and 19 years old. So these are the young g–up and coming guys from the continent….and they’re from all over the continent.
So then, if they’re not from the area, then the younger talent in the con–in the continent. So they don’t have, they’re not familiar with as far as I know. And they, what they’ve said to me is they don’t really know who the kids are.
But if you get a kid, like, a kid from Congo, where Serge has spent some time, and been from, they are more connected to those kids because they’re from their country. So they seem to be a little bit more engaged with those guys because they can share their experiences they’ve had with those guys, because they’re from the same area.
Do you see any signs of Apartheid when you’re around Johannesburg?
Well, we had a tremendous experience, as the whole group went to the Apartheid Museum of, a couple of days ago, and that was eye-opening, an eye-opening experience.
Talked about Nelson Mandela and his imprisonment and the Apartheid movement and the coming out of the Apartheid, Apartheid into a more friendly government situation for the people here…It’s opened up a lot more since then, and the signs that we can see are not visible.
Locke: It’s like you’re on the other side of the stick this time than when you took the guys to the Civil Rights Museum…
We had the civil rights movement in America, and it was horrible in itself.
But the Apartheid thing is just, to me, it was a little bit more gruesome because you see the violence that people had to go through, and the differences that they had to experience.
Tyrone, I’m really ignorant to Johannesburg. Is it, I know it’s a major city, but is it the way L.A.’s a major city? If you drive for 30 minutes, are you suddenly out in an African desert? What’s the surrounding area? Obviously there’s water, but if you go away from Johannesburg, have you done that, and what is it like?
It’s a major city. You know, it’s high skyscrapers, and it’s a huge traffic. I think we’re gonna try to do a little safari…
Johannesburg is actually a major, major city. Major market area, and there’s a lot of wealth in this city because of the mineral thing, and the banks and stuff around, that’s around the mineral, and gold, and diamond stuff that’s in the area.
On basketball in Africa
They want to make sure that we continue to be a factor here in this market and grow the game, because there are some great African players who’s come out of this continent in [Hakeem] Olajuwon, and Dikembe Mutombo, and now Serge Ibaka, and Thabo Sefolosha,* who’s here, who’s from South Africa, that area. (Locked on Jazz)
* Thabo Sefolosha is from Switzerland.
P.S. Back in the good ol’ U.S.A., Ty’s son has a question…