Reggie Moore rarely gets through a day without stopping for an autograph or selfie in the basketball-mad African country of Angola.
“If I’m in the mall, it’s going to be 30 to 40 selfies,” said Moore, a bearded 36-year-old Californian who plays in Angola’s professional league and also for its national team. “It’s kind of nice to have a country that knows who you are.”
For Moore, representing an African country is a little like playing on a Dream Team. And he’s not the only American to seek out the African experience.
Africa generally exports basketball players to the United States, but a handful of American professionals have gone the other way. The African championship, known as AfroBasket, began its knockout stage Thursday in Tunisia and features several Americans who were granted citizenship to play for African teams.
It’s probably their only shot at international glory or the Olympics. Basketball governing body FIBA allows one naturalized citizen per roster.
“I feel at home,” said Clevin Hannah, a Wichita State alum and point guard for Senegal. “I don’t feel out of synch or out of place when I put my jersey on. It’s an honor.”
Stipends cover costs but there’s generally no compensation for international duty. Some countries and team sponsors pledge to pay bonuses for winning, however.