Tacko Fall discusses his journey to the NBA and his favorite Celtics memories at event in Suffolk – The Suffolk Journal

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Former Boston Celtics fan favorite Tacko Fall, who now plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, visited Suffolk University on September 11 for a chat about his journey in the NBA.

Suffolk students filled modern theater to hear the 7’5 ” center describe his upbringing in Senegal, his transition to America, and some of his favorite Celtic memories.

The event was moderated by Margie Arnold, partner of Suffolk University President Marisa Kelly.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Arnold. “I learned so much about him not only on stage, but also ahead of time while researching him.”

Arnold said she believed Suffolk had a unique opportunity to have Fall on campus due to the university’s location in the city. Arnold said the students mentioned seeing Fall in town because he lived only a few blocks from the Suffolk campus.

“Tacko asked for a car only because he couldn’t get here without being stopped,” said Arnold.

Arnold said that at the University of the University of Central Florida (UCF), Fall would have to leave for class an hour before the start because he would be stopped by people on campus.

“I thought it was a wonderful opportunity,” Kelly said, bringing in Fall. “I thought it was one of those things you can do in Boston that just doesn’t happen everywhere.”

Students had photo opportunities with Fall in addition to a student-led question-and-answer session.

Fall first spoke with Arnold about his upbringing in Senegal and some of the challenges he faced there.

With football being a huge sport in Senegal growing up, Fall loved to play with his friends and considered becoming a professional when he was older.

“Sometimes we didn’t have a real ball, so we would take a bunch of plastic bags and stuff, wrap it around and make it round enough,” he said.

Fall discovered basketball at the age of 16 and played the sport casually, but didn’t realize that her life was going to change forever because of it.

Fall, who still preferred football at the time, was known for his unnatural height of 7’3 “as a teenager. This caught the attention of basketball scouts who saw him play for fun. on local courts in Senegal.

Six months after touching a basketball for the first time, Fall was on his way to the United States to make a name for himself.

“Basketball came into my life quite late,” Fall said. “This is the last sport I tried. It wasn’t even something I envisioned as a professional.

Letting his mother and brother play across the world has never been part of his long-term plans. The hardest part of moving to the United States for the fall was not being able to see your family. He even mentioned that he went for months without seeing his mother’s face.

“My brother and I are very close,” he said. “I don’t look at him as my little brother, I look at him as almost my son.”

From a career perspective, Fall wanted to be an engineer growing up. He graduated in commerce from UCF, where he rose to prominence on the national scene.

Fall made a name for himself in his senior year at the March Madness 2019 tournament, when he and the Knights nearly knocked down the number one seed, the Duke Blue Devils, in the second round.

“We were very tight, we had fun, we had a great leader in Johnny Dawkins and we got far in the tournament. We were so close… if I hadn’t made a mistake, I would have recovered that rebound.

Fall said the Celtics were the most persistent team he contacted when he was not drafted to Central Florida.

“After the draft there was a little bit of doubt because you know you are working so hard for something and people are like, ‘Oh you won’t get it,’” Fall said.

When asked what the city of Boston meant to Fall during his two years with the Celtics, he replied that it would always come back to his family.

“Family is unconditional love and I feel like I had that in Boston whether I played or not,” he said, adding later, “Just know that for me personally, Boston will be. always another home for me no matter which team I play for.

“It’s my first time changing teams and I have to admit it’s not fun. Especially for me. It’s like I’ve moved so many times in my life that I’ve always wanted to stay in one place, ”he continued.

Students who were able to meet Fall after the event also enjoyed the company of Celtics center Enes Kanter via FaceTime. A group of pedestrians also gathered on Washington Street to observe and photograph Fall’s departure.

“It was really inspiring to hear his story of how far he has come, I think he is really grateful for his platform and his ability to go this far,” said Evan Weston, Treasurer of the Government Association student from Suffolk, who attended the event. “I think he’s inspired all of us to pursue our dreams and pursue what you love, and I hope he comes back to Boston frequently.”

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