Thursday, August 19, 2010

A proud Haitian: Samuel Davis Dalembert

Samuel’s Story

In 2001, following his sophomore year at Seton Hall University, Philadelphia 76er Samuel Dalembert became the NBA’s 26th overall draft selection, rather incredible for someone who had only played basketball for six years.  He is now in his sixth season as the team’s starting center, and, at seven feet, has shown himself an exceptional team player and force under the basket.  Starting all 82 games in 2007-2008, he averaged 2.34 blocks (twice recording 9 in a game), 10.4 rebounds (once pulling down 10 offensive rebounds and garnering 18 defensive boards).  He’s also a scorer, consistently shooting over 50%, and delivering over ten points a game.

Most of his points come from slamming down a variety of eye-catching dunks that have prompted the nicknames: “Slammy” and “Dalembeast.”  “I recall seeing the great Dr. J., Julius Erving, do that as a boy.  I was speechless,” says Sammy.  It is generally understood that his jumping ability, wingspan (90.5 inches) and timing are among the best in basketball.  That’s why with over a hundred blocks each season, he now has the third most blocks in 76er franchise history.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1980, Samuel is only the second from that country to play in the NBA.  Emigrating to Canada at fourteen, Sam spent his early teen years in Montreal where he became a fine soccer mid-fielder, shot a few hoops, and dedicated himself to his books.  Basketball officially began for him in 1995, but in 1996 he moved to New Jersey where he played brilliantly at St. Patricks High School. In 2007, he competed for Canada in the FIBA Americas Championship where he led all tournament players in blocks and was near the top in rebounds.  He enjoys citizenship in Haiti and Canada (since 2007), and has verbal fluency in Creole, French, and English, but capitalizes on the universal language he speaks so well - basketball.

In October of 2002 he went down with a major knee problem.  He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair two chondral defects and spent the 2002-2003 Season on injured reserve.  A quad strain in 2005 and an ankle sprain in 2006 kept him off the court for a total of 19 games.  Other than that, he is usually in action over thirty minutes a game.  His work ethic is such that he is always in excellent shape and ready to play.
Sam has been very generous with his free time, readily responding to causes that involve youngsters and the needy.  “Basketball Without Borders,” for example, an NBA-sponsored program, has been a special activity for him.  He has traveled to locations around the globe instructing young people in basketball and life issues.  In April 2007, he founded the philanthropic Samuel Dalembert Foundation (  Samuel has set ambitious objectives for this program which has been designed to bring training in sports and personal values to the underprivileged children of Haiti.  He remembers when as a boy they had one ball (a beat-up tennis ball) for the neighborhood, no television and not even sneakers for play.  All Haitians suffer deeply from poverty.  His personal involvement marks this program with uniqueness, and gives it the promise of great success.  Independently, he has contributed to hospital needs and helped those affected by floods in Haiti as well as many other worthwhile causes.

“I’m no different today than when I was Sammy in Haiti, except I’m a lot taller.  I still like orange juice on my cereal and to read books.”  Then, he didn’t want to disappoint his beloved grandmother (Hypromene), who helped raise him.  “Today, I don’t want to disappoint a lot of people, and I strive daily to earn God’s love and to be a worthy role model.  God has been so kind to me,” says Sam.  “I prayed, and He answered.  There are countless ways for me to give back in life, especially with the blessings of basketball, and I intend to do that in any way that I can.  With the Foundation and other programs, and just being myself, I feel I can contribute to the needs of others.  And, you know when we help, we do some good, and we glorify God.”
From a 76ers broadcaster at courtside: “Wow!  Sammy just flew into the air and tossed that shot away!  What defense!  That’s his fourth block, and it’s not even half time!”

 Samuel is a very good basket ball player and if you want to see for your self see his  current stats  and to make sure you check out his website and donate to his foundation.

Source:, NBA and youtube.

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