Momar Sakanoko: Ex-NBA star aims to mentor youngsters in Ghana, other African countries

Momar Sakanoko retired from basketball at a very young age and now he aims to use his experience to guide other upcoming sportsmen…

When Momar Sakanoko started his career as a professional basketball player, he innocently thought it was going to be a smooth ride without any bumps.

However, he soon found out that he was wrong. In sports, an agent could make and unmake a player and Sakanoko experienced firsthand how the sports management industry usually failed some talents.

He started his career in the NBA as a teenager but quit after just a year and a half. At 19, he decided to become an NBA and FIFA agent. He’s currently the representative of some talents in the NBA and Ligue 1.

Momar Sakanoko
Momar Sakanoko

Now 23, Sakanoko believes his experiences make him the best person to help youngsters reach their full potential. He is well connected too: Sakanoko is part of the NBA Europe, Africa and also the NBA India youth development team in charge of new recruitment for the new NBA African league.

“After I graduated high school, I had the opportunity to play professionally, so I signed my first contract at 18 years old to play for Brno basket in the Czech Republic which was a bad experience,” he told Vanguard.

“I was a victim of racism by the organization and the fans, so I transferred during the season to another club Bahia basket where I finished the season.

“After the season I had the opportunity to play with my national team which was a great and humbling experience. I then signed with the Furstenfeld Panthers in Europe, but during the pre-season, I decided to cut my contract and retire from basketball.”

Momar Sakanoko
Momar Sakanoko

Sakanoko said he was “used by coaches, organizations, agents and more”, hence his decision to start the Be Great Company, which represents talents in football and basketball.

“I felt like a lot of things in the sports industry could be fixed and this is the main reason I took this path. I also wanted to impact people’s lives and help them reach their goals,” he said.

The Be Great Company is a multi-service company that offers management, marketing, branding, production and entertainment services.

According to Sakanoko, the company raised over a million dollars from French investors and has worked with some of the best players around the world and some of the most iconic brands like Nike or recently puma.

They’ve also helped more than 60 kids from South Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana to get a full-ride scholarship in some l high school programs and some major NCAA D1 schools in the United States, he added.

Momar Sakanoko
Momar Sakanoko

Explaining how he intends to help develop the talents of young sportsmen in Africa, Sakanoko said: “In Africa, people are naturally talented, so there is a need to keep on building academies around the continent to help these talents reach their full potential.

“As an agent and active member of the NBA Africa, due to the shortage of big leagues in Africa, helping these young talents get into academies abroad can in the long run help develop these talents, who can in turn help develop their countries, like Sadio Mane is doing in Senegal.”

The former French basketball player also touched on his personal goals, saying he aims to “have a big impact on people’s lives and help as many people live the life they always dreamed of.”

Despite his relatively young age, Sakanoko appears to have seen it all in the world of sports management and he intends to use his experience to guide athletes so that they do not retire as destitute sportsmen.

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