#70SportWays (70): Abdul Jeelani, a part of our story
For this fifth EMCA birthday, we conclude our #70SportWays with a special story, the story of the basketball player Abdul Jeelani. Born in the U.S. in 1954, he made his debut in Italian Basketball League with S.S. Lazio Basket in 1977. During his career, he played in NBA for two years, before coming to Italy for playing with Libertas Livorno. He concluded his career in Spain, with Caja de Álava,
In 1987 he retired and came back to the United States, but a series of personal misfortunes made him live as a homeless. He lost his job and he had to undergo three surgery intervations due to cancer. He asked for help to many of his former clubs in the United States, but he did not receive any help.
Hearding his story, supporters of Libertas Livorno helped him to pay his debts with a fundraising and then, S.S. Lazio Basket invited him to come back to Italy. In 2011, he came back to the Italian Country, starting a new job and a new life with the white-skyblue colours, training kids in several poor areas of Rome. He died in 2016, at the age of 62, but his legacy is strong and his memory will be forever with us.