Amare Stoudemire, Benefactor

Chris Broussard with the heart-warming tale:

Today, 16-year-old Amadou Barro Ndieguene was flown from Senegal to Houston (by way of Paris) for a special surgery on his injured left foot. The $2,500 roundtrip ticket was paid for by Stoudemire.

Stoudemire doesn't know Barro from Adam. Never met him or talked to him. But he was so touched by an article I wrote about Barro in the Feb. 27, 2006 issue of ESPN The Magazine, that he volunteered to fly him to America for surgery.

Barro was The Magazine's cover boy for the May 26, 2003 "On the Trail of Next'' issue. It was an arresting photo of a shirtless Barro sitting down with a basketball. A 6-4 13-year-old with hoop dreams, he was featured as a youngster to watch out for in the future.

When I visited Senegal last year to write about basketball in Africa, I found Barro walking with a limp and carrying a French-English dictionary on the campus of SEED, the continent's first basketball academy.

He had injured his left foot, and medical doctors in Senegal were unable to fully diagnose or correct the problem. As a result, he hasn't played ball in two years.

Dr. Tony Rotondo, First Surgical Medical Group in Houston, Dr. Kevin Varner, (they're all involved in the surgery) and DeSagana Diop (picking up hotel and other expenses) have also been generous. The surgery is to take place on Friday.

Everyone, including Broussard, has to feel good about making a real difference.