Oklahoma men's basketball: Amath M'Baye's mother in town to watch as he begins OU career
Amath M'Baye had a long journey to Norman, growing up in France and Senegal. But now, M'Baye is getting to spend time with his mother, who calls him the “sunshine of her life,” as he starts his playing career with the Sooners.
NORMAN — Amath M'Baye stood in the practice gym at Lloyd Noble Center and passed the ball to his mom.
Both of them were laughing as she shot a basket.
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It's not often they get to spend time together, mother and son.
But what matters to both right now is that for three weeks, Dominique Ba will be there to watch and support M'Baye as the 6-foot-9 forward plays in home and road games for the Oklahoma basketball team. At least after his first road game against UT Arlington, his mother knows she won't have to wait until her son reads his email after the game to know he's heard her critiques.
Amath M'Baye took an unusual path to Norman. He was born in Bourdeaux, France, where he lived with his mother and grandmother. But when he was 7 or 8 years old, he and his mother moved to Dakar, Senegal. That's where his father was.
“From my point of view, it was important for him to know the two countries,” Ba said through the help of her son's translation, “because he was born in France and his first years he spent in France but I wanted to know the other side of his person, Africa. That was important. Now he knows that and that is constructive for him.”
Living in Senegal wasn't easy for M'Baye.
“It was a rough part of my life,” M'Baye said. “It was tough to put food on the table. My mom worked hard every day just to find a way to put food on the table.”
He did get to watch his father play basketball. And the encouraging personality that his teammates today see was evident even then.
Young M'Baye thought that tapping others on their rear was a way of telling them they did a good job. After all, that's what his father did when a teammate helped him in a game.
So walking the streets of Senegal one day, M'Baye and his mother came across a police officer when M'Baye reached up and tapped him on the behind.
“Good job,” little M'Baye said as he kept walking with his mom. His mother still smiles today when recalling the memory — and her son's positivity.