For serial entrepreneur Momar Sakanoko, nothing is more valuable than your experience.
Sakanoko is one of the most celebrated basketball players with French-Senegalese roots.
Throughout his life, Sakanoko has endured power abuse in sports, racial abuse, and fraud. But his experiences grew another passion: building an empire that strives to uplift others, The Be Great Company.
“Your journey is unique, it’s not always going to be a smooth ride without bumps, so prepare yourself and go after your dreams and goals,” the 24-year-old said per Face2Face Africa.
By 12, the Paris native had already anticipated his future playing in the NBA. As a member of the Metropolitans 92 academy, a professional basketball club based in Levallois-Perret, France, he quickly gained international recognition for his hoop talents by professional club scouts.
The dream of migrating to the United States brought Sakanoko to Wesley Christian, a Kentucky-based basketball academy program, ranked 10th in the country. His indisputable skills on the court were awarded with scholarships to many college, including Dayton, Florida State, Stanford, Ohio University, and Howard University, per The Sports Grail.
But high school, Sakanoko says, was “the first time in my life experiencing power abuse in sports in a really intensive way, which really affected my mental health at the time.”
At 18, the budding pro player returned to Europe and signed with Brno Basket in the Czech Republic. According to The Sports Grail, Sakanoko it was a “really racist country” where he was “attacked multiple times after away games.” He would cut his contract short and leave the country altogether without the support and help from the agency he signed with.
“Throughout my career, I was a victim of racial abuse and fraud from my agency,” Sakanoko told Face2Face Africa. “I am not scared to say that I am a failed product of the industry, but I’m also not the only one. So many athletes, actors, musicians, models, and more do not achieve their full potential because a lot of people in this industry do not have their best interest at heart.”
After signing another contract, then cutting it short, Sakanoko took a leap into the world of entrepreneurship. His interests led him to real estate and his investments helped fund The Be Great Company. With the younger generation in mind, he has established a multi-service platform that specializes in management, marketing, entertainment, and branding. Services are also offered internationally.
“We develop talents and build their careers, and thereafter, work with brands and companies to enhance their creativity to bring new approaches to innovation and communication,” Sakanoko explained.