Born on july 4th 1963 (Bangui, central African republic). My father was a career administrator and diplomat. My mother was a homemaker and small business woman.
I am a father of two (daughter and son)
Anicet Lavodrama (@elfarodemeiras)
Education, College and Professional teams
- High school: Lycée des Rapides (Bangui, RCA)
- University: Houston Baptist University (Houston, texas, USA). BA in Finance and Management.
- OAR Ferrol (1985 – 1994)
- JOVENTUT Badalona (1995 – 1996)
- FORUM Valladolid (1994 – 1995 and 1996 – 1998. Top league “Liga ACB” (Spain).
Awards and trophies
- Gold Medal at African Nations Championship in Tunisia
- Seoul Olympics (Olympics leading 2nd rebounder and 5th scorer).
- Drafted 2nd by Los Angeles Clippers (NBA, USA)
- Honorable mention All-American
- Basketball Houston Baptist Huskies (NCAA 1st Division TAAC conference); All Conference player (1983, 1984, 1985). Team captain.
- Assistant General Manager
Forum Valladolid, ACB League, Spain) (1998-1999).
- Development Manager (2000-2005)
FIBA, (International Basketball Federation) in Munich (Germany) and Geneva (Switzerland)
- NBA International scout for the Cleveland Cavaliers ( 2005-2007, NBA)
- Athletes’ FIBA licensed Agent, “You First Foundation” Board Member
You First Sports S,L. in Madrid (Spain)
- Managing Partner
ASIS Sport Spain ltd. www.asissportspain.com
- TV Analyst (101 Tv Málaga), radio analyst (COPE Málaga)
Important moments of your basketball experience (beginnings and progress) prior to migrating out?
At 12 years of age in Abidjan (Cote d’ivoire) I was captivated by basketball and handball through how good and competitive I saw my older sister Philomène perform. Following my two older brothers I started training with their U14 team of AUC. Then at 15, back in Bangui (RCA), my older brother Timoléon started each morning before school to take us to the stadium for a regimen of physical and technical training. I started playing with the U16 ASOPT club and soon was called with the senior team playing alongside two of the Central African greats Martin Ngoko (Point guard) and François Naoueyama (center). It lead to being called up to the U18 national team with participation to an international series of games in the USSR, the U18 Afrobasket in Luanda (Angola), and African clubs championship league with ASOPT where I met and competed against the great Akeem Olajuwon.
As a person, what have you learned from being and playing in Europe and the USA that is important for people in Africa (and even elsewhere) and for African Basketball associations and federations, to know, in terms of attitude, planning, values, organization, etc.
At a young age, I perceived with the examples of athletics (track and field) through great performers from Kenya, Morocco, Algeria and Ethiopia that it was clear that sports can be an efficient showcase of the talent and capacity of an African nation.
Once in the USA and in Europe my lessons learned are that youth can be educated and acquire life’s skills and values through a structure that combines academics and sports. Also that sports can be a force in creating or promoting business, economic growth, employment and community building. The vital factors are a durable structured social, political and economic stability with a sustainable as well as peaceful efficient organizational environment. That would be the driving force for all social layers and demographic clusters in each African nation to build a reliable community where local and foreign families would feel comfortable living and investing.
Sports and their governing bodies can then operate over the long term resulting in a much better opportunity to develop and showcase the vast amount of talent that has always existed in Africa; thus putting forward more competitive athletes, club teams and national teams at international competitions.
Those governing bodies must be structured and operate with the basic principle of serious professional management.
What do you think should be done for more women and men to play basketball today in your country or Africa, from age 5, for the game to reach all villages and towns?
Referring to my observation above, families would feel comfortable knowing that in a country at peace, their younger ones can participate in sports in safe environments, proper facilities, well-regulated sports structures, with the best trained coaches or trainers and a regular sports calendar, leading to real opportunities for acquiring academic education and potentially engage in professional career opportunities
Being able to safely and regularly organize and hold international competition in all cities in all African countries will generate the understanding, commitment to the sport, while catering to what we all know is that inner passion for performance and competition in our society.
How did you leave the continent?
Usually, while finishing high school, the main concern is to define your interest in what studies to pursue either in local universities or others in the French speaking countries such as Ivory Coast, Senegal, France or Canada. Between the ages of 17 and 18, the central African basketball federation had an American coach for our U18 and senior national program. At one of the international tournament against Nigeria, Akeem Olajuwon and I spoke of that coach’s proposal for us to go to the USA to continue our personal, academic and basketball development with a scholarship. We both ended up in Houston, Texas, me at Houston Baptist University after graduating from my high school Lycée des Rapides of Bangui.
Can you talk about what happens to African players as skilled as you when they do not make it in the USA and Europe? What do they do?
Most would continue their academic process hoping to find a decent job locally to make a living; also the majority persevere and continue developing the best they can locally with their eyes set on playing for a club and mainly the national team thus having the opportunities to compete at elite level against the best internationally.
Often, many seek opportunities for professional or semiprofessional leagues in the few African countries with organized leagues. There is a limited number who have emigrated to the Middle East or Asian leagues.
Unfortunately, we also witness many who have fallen victims to crooks who exploit their lack of knowledge of the proper procedures and their “innocence” or dive into emotional and psychological distress when they know of their potential, are aware of the possibilities that exist in other more stable “developed” countries, but could not make that “dream” come true.
What have been and maybe are still the cultural and social obstacles you had to face in your career? (discrimination, racism, culture, language issues, weather, etc.)
The main obstacle is the perception, at times pertinent, that the athletes or players from Africa have raw athletic abilities but with low skills level, poor technique or ball control, and limited understanding of tactical basketball. There is also a protective cloak for the quota of local players. All this limits opportunities for African athletes.
In regards the racial or cultural biases, the way I see it is that if you are not looking or needing to be validated by someone else, especially ignorant insecure lots, you simply just have to conduct yourself with the values acquired from your family and your own culture together with your own drive and healthy ambition, recognition and praise will inevitably come.
I have always had a great interest in learning languages. That is usually the case for most Africans given that we are accustomed to multiple languages from an early age. It makes it a lot easier to enjoy your life – personal and professional – in foreign land.
Nevertheless, the conscious effort in eradicating violence or harassment perpetrated by racial and cultural biases must be enforced and sustained.