Bismack Biyombo has traveled around the NBA quite a bit. After he played overseas as a teenager, the Sacramento Kings selected Biyombo as the 7th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He was immediately traded to the Charlotte Bobcats, which changed to the Hornets a few years later. Biyombo has also played for the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, and had another stint in Charlotte. He’s never averaged more than 7.4 points or 8.0 rebounds in a season, yet Biyombo has made plenty of impact both on and off the court.
He’s also traveled internationally, donating millions of dollars to his native country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. And this past offseason, he brought mental health awareness to NBA fans across the globe.
After the 2020-21 season ended, Biyombo became a free agent. However, before he decided on where to sign, his father was diagnosed with Covid-19. Biyombo flew to Congo to spend time with his dad, and had him transferred to a hospital in Turkey. The pair spent 45 days together, and while Biyombo’s father recovered, Covid caused other health complications, and he died at the age of 61.
Biyombo was devastated and instead of rejoining the NBA, recognized that he was not mentally ready to compete and took time off to grieve. He returned at the literal start of the new year, signing a 10-day contract with the Phoenix Suns on January 1, 2022 through the Covid-19 hardship extension. Donning the jersey number 18 — in honor of his father’s June 18 birthday — Biyombo played very well over those ten days. The Suns signed him to a contract for the rest of the season.
Shortly before the playoffs began, Biyombo announced he was donating his entire season’s salary — a total of $1.3 million — to go toward the construction of a hospital in Congo in honor of his father.
“I want to be able to give them better conditions so that they can somewhat have hope that their loved ones will be able to live and see another day,” Biyombo said. “I wanted to give them something that would continue to service people under his name.”
This isn’t the first time Biyombo has worked to help others. As the pandemic first hit the world, Biyombo delivered nearly $1 million of medical equipment across the DRC. Biyombo’s foundation has helped renovate hospitals, offered training to staff, and streamlined operations.
Now, Biyombo is seeking to help people for generations to come. His father would certainly be proud.