"People are too busy right now in this world, only thinking about themselves and not what they can do to help others. I am never too busy to help others.”
— Gorgui Dieng
Gorgui Dieng was born and raised in the West African country of Senegal. Growing up in the small, rural town of Kebemer, Gorgui learned the importance of community. Though life has taken Gorgui far his roots in Senegal, those communal values that were instilled in him as a young boy still guide his life today.
JOURNEY TO THE NBA
Like most kids in Senegal, Gorgui grew up playing soccer. That all changed when he discovered basketball, a sport that would ultimately become his passion. His journey to the NBA started at the Sports for Education and Economic Development School in Senegal where he learned to play organized basketball. In 2009, he was unanimously selected for "Basketball Without Borders", an NBA camp that hosted 60 of Africa's best young basketball players from all over the continent. After being named the camp's MVP, Gorgui was immediately encouraged to take his talents to the United States. With the support of his family, Gorgui uprooted his life and moved to the other side of the world. The rest, as they say, is history.
A DREAM COMES TRUE
After an impressive year playing at Huntington Prep in West Virginia, college teams came calling and Gorgui moved on to the University of Louisville, setting records and helping to lead Louisville to a NCAA championship in his junior season. At the conclusion of that year, Gorgui decided to forgo his final season of college eligibility and enter the 2013 NBA draft.
Gorgui was drafted with the 21st overall pick by the Utah Jazz, but was immediately traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he played for the next six years. During his rookie season in 2014, Gorgui saw playing time in 60 games, starting 15 with his most impressive performance in a 22 point, 21 rebound game against the Houston Rockets. That game was the first ever 20-20 game by a rookie in Minnesota Timberwolves history. He also became just the sixth player since the NBA began tracking starts in 1970 to have at least 20 points and 20 rebounds within their first three career starts.
In 2020, Gorgui was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, and since 2021 has been playing for the Atlanta Hawks.
MORE THAN AN ATHLETE
Growing up in Senegal, Gorgui saw a lot of suffering and vowed to himself that if he were ever in a position to make a difference, he would. “I have been blessed in my life, and I feel that I must lead by example and give back to the community that molded me.”
In 2015, Gorgui’s dream of helping his country was realized. Teaming up with MATTER, a global nonprofit on a mission to help people launch projects that improve communities,
Gorgui established the Gorgui Dieng Foundation with the goal of “Building a Sustainable Future for Senegal.”