- Momar Sakanoko, a former French basketball player and owner of the Be Great Company, was born on May 27, 1998, to Senegalese parents
- The 23-year-old is one of the most experienced basketball players in Paris, France with his extraordinary and amazing playing skills taking the world by storm
- Sakanoko retired from Basketball at the early age of 20 years and is now focused on talent management with his company
Momar Sakanoko saw his dreams of becoming one of the best talents to ever graze the sports of basketball extinguished quite early.
The 23-year-old former French basketballer in an exclusive interview with Sports Brief has detailed why he had to retire early from the sport he loves.
Sakanoko also revealed his future plans after retirement and why he chose to start up a talent managing company at a very young age.
How did the journey to basketball start for Momar Sakanoko?
I grew up in a sports family, so had a ball in my hands since I could remember. I first started to play soccer at the age of 3, but quickly switched to basketball and joined the pro club academy of Metropolitans 92 in Paris, France.
At the age of 12 years old my talent started to get recognized around the country, and started to catch people’s eyes. I attended top European prospect ADIDAS Eurocamp, Kevin Durant Camp, and got invited to play for my national team and play my first international competition.
France is a country, full of talents in every sport and I was really blessed to be recognized as one of the best in the country, but my dream was to play in the United States.
After receiving many offers from multiple programs, I decided to take my talent to Wesley Chrisitan school, a top 10 ranked program in Kentucky where I played for four years and graduated.
At the age of 18 years old, freshly graduating from high school, I had the option to play NCAA D1 but I decided to play professionally and make my comeback in Europe.
A year and a half later, after going through hard times, my career wasn't going in the right direction, so I took the hard decision to end my career and begin my entrepreneurship journey.
Why did you retire from the sport at a young age?
I left my first passion for another, growing up I always knew I would help people I just didn't know how it would manifest and building my own management company that helps young talents realize their dreams.
Throughout my basketball career, I have always been considered as a top talent in my generation. My dream was to go to the NBA and believe this was attainable, but going into my first professional contract I discovered the dark, tricky and unfair side of the sport.
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The management company, I was signed to did not have my best interest, strictly focussed on profit, and had no plan for building their talent's career. Sponsorship deals, club contracts, scouts, the company was taking commissions under the table and asking a lot, which cost me opportunities that could've helped me reach my goal.
This is where my ambition to make changes in the sports industry came from. I am not the first nor the last talent that has been failed by the sports industry system and unqualified people in it.
I decided to build my own management company named, Be Great, and we are now helping some of the best talents around the world to reach their goals and pursue their dreams. The goal is to create a safe platform for athletes.
Tell us what informed your decision to make that transition from a basketball player to an agent?
Both of my parents are African Entrepreneurs, so I grew up with that mindset. I knew I would start my own company that's why when I retired, I didn't think twice and I started right away.
Helping people has always been part of my personality and helping people realize their dreams and making changes in their life is even more enjoyable.
The job of an agent is hard, but I picked it up pretty easily and my basketball career has been a huge advantage in this transition.
I have a strong ambition to make changes and make the sports industry a safer place for athletes, and upcoming talents to reach their full potential on and off the field.
Can you share the vision and mission of your company Be Great Company Sports Agency and how has the transition to management been?
Be Great, is our identity we help talents reach their career goals, put a strong focus on their finance, mental health, personal needs, and goals, and also provide them with after-career plans.
What project are you currently working on?
Be Great Company is my main project, and I am focused on developing and making it a world top management company in the next 5 years.
We are building Be Great Charity, which will consist of helping all talents from every field reach scholarship and offer them opportunities to reach their dreams and goals.
Besides that, I am also involved in Luxury retail, with Maison Vandale. I am also investing in real estate and will release an App beginning of 2023.
How can we develop basketball in Africa to the point we can have an African team win gold at the Olympics and perhaps have more Africans in the NBA?
In the past years, African sport has made huge progress. The venue of The Bal league of what can be done and offers the opportunity to African talents to showcase their talent.
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We need sport stars to be more involved in their home country and give back in any kind of way possible. Africa is the future.
Who are you tipping to win the NBA title this season?
Golden State will win it all, they have the roster and the tools for.
The experience of Steph Curry and Draymond Green, the comeback of Klay Thompson and the rise the young of Jordan Poole is making them a strong championship contender.
How good is Giannis Antetokounmpo?
Giannis is a really versatile player on the court, he can do it all. His size and skills have changed the game of basketball and he is making it harder for every team in the NBA.
Who is your player of the season so far in the NBA and why?
Jordan Poole is having an amazing season. I remember playing against him younger, and to see what he is doing in the league, it's something I'm having a lot of respect for.
He wasn't predicted to be where he is at, but now in the biggest stage he is proving the doubters wrong.
Source: Sports Brief News