Bam Adebayo was instrumental in the Miami Heat reaching the NBA finals this season, despite the fact that the basketball team was widely viewed as an underdog, even throughout the Eastern Conference semifinals.
With two games remaining in their seven-game series, Bam and his club winning against a Nikola Joki-led Nuggets team would be one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. As both teams compete for the championship, How Africa reveals four facts about the Miami Heat Center that you definitely didn’t know.
His father is Nigerian
Adebayo’s mother is African-American, and his father is a Yoruba Nigerian. The 25-year-old, who was born in Newark, New Jersey, wanted to visit his late father’s country for the first time in 2020 to participate in the Basketball Without Borders camp. However, COVID-19 prevented it from happening.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Nigeria,” he told The Undefeated. “I always wanted to see the place. See what it’s like. I might go over there, and I might be some king that I don’t even know about. I might have a mansion over there that’s mine, and I don’t even know. So, I’m looking forward to going over there.”
“Because at the end of the day I’m half-Nigerian. But, I don’t want to say that and not know the history of my name, or where my tribe is.”
“Bam” is not his real name
Though he’s better known as Bam, the NBA All-Star’s full name is Edrice Femi Adebayo. When he was a year old, his mother gave him the nickname “Bam” while he was watching The Flintstones. His moniker comes from the cartoon sitcom character Bamm-Bamm Rubble. His mother is claimed to have given him the name after he imitated the cartoon character’s throwing of a table.
He initially did not want to embrace his Nigerian roots
Bam claimed he never spoke to his father, John Adebayo, while he was alive. He told The Undefeated that once his mother went to North Carolina, his father became distant, and that it was his half-brother who informed him of his father’s death in Nigeria.
He also revealed he initially did not want to embrace his Nigerian roots because his father was not really in his life during his childhood. “I feel like … my dad’s not in my life,” Adebayo said.
“I don’t want to learn about that part of my family. And, I had to grow out of that. And, it was tough for me, it was growing pains. Because, from 15 to younger, everybody has regular names like Williams, Bennett, you got all the names that sound normal. And, then you got the one kid that has Adebayo. Everybody’s like, ‘Oh, you’re African,’ and this, that and the third. And, coming from a small city, everybody looks at you differently.
“When I was younger, I never wanted it because I was like, ‘Man, he wasn’t in my life. Why do I have his last name?’”
He, however, said that changed once he got older. “Once I got older, it was kind of like, ‘Man, I got a beautiful last name. It rings well. It goes well with Bam,” he said. “Bam Adebayo clicks, it just sounds good going off the tongue. …
“I know that my last name means like born in the joyful time. Just thinking about that, it means something to me. I feel like it clicks with my personality and who I am.”
He once considered paying for the Nigerian men’s national basketball team
Despite winning a gold medal with the United States men’s national basketball team in 2020, Bam pondered competing for his father’s home country after being cut from the USA Basketball squad the previous year.
“I’m still thinking on it,” Bam told The Undefeated about representing Nigeria at the Olympics back then. “It’s still in the back of my mind. When we played in the regular season a lot of dudes see me, and give me a little elbow, like, ‘Man, Nigerian team looking kind of nice.’ ”
He loves the popular African dish “fufu”
Fufu, a classic African delicacy, is a favorite of the Miami Heat player. Fufu is a traditional West African dish that combines many flavors such as cassava, cornmeal, green plantain, yam, and/or semolina.