The only Swiss player ever drafted into the NBA, Thabo Sefolosha is the son of mother Christine, a native of Switzerland, and father Patrick Sefolosha of South Africa. His mother is an artist. His father is an author-writer, who also plays saxophone and percussion. Though Sefolosha's parents divorced when he was 9, he still considers them a tremendous influence on his life.
Thabo and his oldest brother, Kgomotso, grew to love basketball and played every day, learning moves while watching video tapes of NBA players. At age 16, Thabo was invited to join an elite under-20 team in France and at age 18 played in the France professional league. Four years later, he was selected No. 13 overall in the NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and was traded to the Chicago Bulls. On Feb. 19, 2009, he was traded to the Thunder.
The name Thabo translates to "one who brings joy."
Reaching the NBA Finals seems like it was a long time to get here, but at the same time, the season goes by really fast. Actually, it seems like a long road that I've traveled to get to this point, but in a short period of time.
It's an exciting time right now, but it's not overwhelming.
The people here are pretty nice. Lately, it's been a little bit more (intrusive). People are following the team so much that every time they see a player they want a picture or an autograph. But other than that, I really enjoy the people here.
The ovations seem to have gotten louder. I definitely appreciate that.
It's pretty tough being away from home for so long every season, especially with my relationships with friends and family. Being away for a long time like this, even though we can talk on the phone, being away from people for a very long time is kind of tough.
Playing in Turkey during the lockout last fall was tough, but mostly for the family. For me, playing basketball is always fun. In Switzerland, I couldn't practice and train the right way for an extended period of time. For the summer it's good, but after that everybody goes back to playing, so I had to find a way to stay in shape.
I live at my home (in Switzerland) about 2 1/2-3 months every year.
[Laughing] I haven't traveled everywhere, but there definitely are a lot of differences between Oklahoma and Switzerland.
(Being followed by a Swiss video journalist all season) The guy is OK. He's being careful not to ask for too much.
Basketball is small back home, but I'm happy when I go back. People tell me they follow the NBA because of me. Some said they became interested in the NBA because of what I'm doing. I really enjoy that and I'm proud of that.
(If I was 5-foot-7 instead of 6-foot-7) I would still be playing in the NBA [laughing]. It's all about heart.
Pursuing basketball was a no-brainer for me. I was pretty tall, but at the same time, coming from Switzerland. I would tell people I would love to play basketball my whole life and do it for a living. They were, "All right. Keep dreaming. You have to prepare yourself for something else."
All the guys in our locker room, we talk about a lot of different things. Everybody has an interesting background, so we can really talk about a whole lot of different things.
We talk a lot of music, politics every now and then. Art? Um, not so much.
Playing basketball was the obvious thing to do for me. I'm grateful to my parents for letting me pursue what I liked doing and going to France at a young age, but at the same time for me, it was a no-brainer. This was the natural next step for me to become what I wanted to become.
I'm under contract with the Thunder for two more years after this. I have not looked beyond that, actually. I'm just happy to be where I'm at today with this great organization, but at the same time it's a business, you know. I'll try to enjoy it as much as I can while I'm here and make the best out of it — for me and for the team.
If I wasn't playing basketball, I don't know, I would maybe like to be a schoolteacher — a history or geography teacher.
School did not come easily for me. No. No. No. The subjects that I liked, I did OK. I wanted to educate myself on specific things that I like. Mathematics and science and subjects like that, I wasn't good at all. School was tough. I had eight years of German, so I can speak a little German.
I thought about actually coming to the U.S. and going to college, but then I had that offer in France and decided to stay there. But, yeah, that was definitely something that was on my mind for a long time.