Pascal Siakam: The Life And Times Of Spicy P and the headband
Most of the players on a current NBA roster have an interesting story behind their journey to the pros. Rags to riches, raised by a single parent, or being drafted late or not at all, making the NBA is not an easy task for the average player. When your nickname is “Spicy P”, however, you must have a unique path to greatness that is waiting to be told.
Pascal Siakam was born in Cameroon, Africa. Siakam is the youngest of 4 boys, and was being groomed by his father to become a priest at 15. Basketball was the last thing on his mind, even though his 3 older brothers all earned NCAA basketball athletic scholarships. It was not until he went to a local basketball camp, and was discovered by Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, and entered into Ujiri’s Basketball Without Borders program, that Pascal’s trip to the NBA had begun.
Siakam had virtually no experience, but his athleticism and overall effort drew the right set of eyes. New Mexico State of the NCAA recruited Siakam, where after an injury plagued rookie season, became the 2014 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Freshman Of The Year. Averaging 20.2 points per game, and grabbing 11.6 rebounds per game earned the WAC Player Of The Year award. Skipping his last 2 years of college, Siakam declared himself ready to be drafted in the NBA.
Selected 27th overall by the Toronto Raptors in 2016, Siakam immediately began opening doors normally closed to rookies by his impressive debut. Siakam was the first Raptors’ rookie since Jonas Valanciunas in 2012 to start on opening day at home. 4 points, and 9 rebounds in 21 minutes of play was the stat line for Pascal, but his first game was more than just about the game he played in. Siakam was seeing his first live NBA game in the very game he was debuting in. His brilliant and promising future began to show the fruits of his labor after a brief stay in the NBA’s G-League for the Raptors 905. Siakam helped lead the team to win the G-League Finals championship, and was named G-League Finals MVP, averaging 23 points and 9 rebounds in the series.
2019 was Siakam’s 3rd year in the league, and he was no longer the Raptors’ best kept secret. Pascal was a major force that drove the team to its first NBA championship in franchise history, also picking up the award for the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
Spicy P had arrived( a nickname given to him for his flavorful style of play), Siakam was voted as an NBA All-Star in 2020. Currently (after 53 games), Siakam is averaging 24 points per game and has his Raptors in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, 3rd overall in the entire NBA.
Flashing a smile as signature as the headbands he wears every game, Pascal Siakam plays every game as if it were his last, with maximum effort and joy. Never forgetting where he has come from or how tough his path to the NBA has been, Siakam remains humble, hungry, passionate, about lifting his Raptors to a repeat as NBA champions