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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


During a St. John's vs Seton Hall game (circa 1999-2000), I remember watching a tall, athletic center for The Hall dismantle a St. John's team with blocked shot after blocked shot.  The thoughts of Dalmebert eventually being an NBA player certainly surfaced, although I didn't think he was nearly "ready" when he decided to turn pro and enter the 2001 NBA Draft. 

He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers and began his pro career without much fanfare.

At one point, I recall that he registered as a citizen of Canada to play for the national team.  After all, he had come to Seton Hall via a HS in Montreal and was within FIBA rules to play for Canada since he had never suited up for any national team competition.  He would later be dismissed from the 2007 Team Canada as it attempted to qualify for the '08 Olympics.

A few years earlier, I had the pleasure of traveling to Basketball without Borders/Asia with Sam Dalembert and a number of other NBA players in July, 2005.  Throughout the trip, I enjoyed his company and his interesting viewpoint and personality.  After some touchy negotiations with then Sixers GM Billy King that off-season, he went on to sign a multi-year/multi-million dollar contract with the 76ers and I remember being very happy for him with thoughts that it was deserving and that his career would pan-out as the 76ers team evolved. 

Of course, things didn't work out for that particular version of the 76ers, King, nor Dalembert to any great extent, although the Phila center was posting decent, if not good numbers this season for a struggling and rebuilding Sixers team.

Dalembert's efforts off-the-court, however, continued to be at All-Star level, as he formed a foundation to help give back to his native Haiti and has been at the center of the NBA's efforts to assist in the aftermath of the terrible earthquake which has devastated Dalembert's native land.

Here is a quick clip:

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia 76ers center Samuel Dalembert is going to his native Haiti with the aid group Project MediShare to assist with the earthquake relief effort.

The 76ers released a statement Monday night saying Dalembert did not return to Philadelphia with the team after a loss in Minnesota earlier in the day. He is being excused from practice Tuesday but is expected to play in Wednesday's home game against Portland.

Dalembert is the NBA's only Haitian-born player. He has taped a public service announcement for UNICEF encouraging fans to contribute. He will address the crowd before the 76ers' home game Friday and make a $100,000 donation to UNICEF. He will also match the donations made by fans at the game.

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