Peter Proko of Philadelphia Style magazine shared lunch with Samuel Dalembert and came away with some insight into a thoughtful and misunderstood player:
Today, he recalls his childhood spent in Haiti with vivid detail and a mix of wistfulness and respect for those still enduring the island nation's poverty. "You talk about a third-world country ... that's a third-world country," Dalembert asserts. "You pray to God that it doesn't rain so water doesn't come in, or you got friends who are sleeping on dirt [because] there's no bed. You go here to the ghetto, and you go 'Wow, that's tough.' To us that's luxury because at least you have a roof over your head, a TV you can watch. You would want to live in a ghetto here compared to the poverty in Haiti."
Growing up in that environment taught Dalembert perspective and to value relationships over possessions. He shows up for this interview wearing a V-neck undershirt and gym shorts-not an ounce of fl ash in sight, no baller attitude or pretense evident-and talks with earnest compassion about his childhood experiences and how they led him to become involved in several foundations both here and in Haiti.
"I'm weird in a way [to my teammates]. I don't do the typical things that everybody does. I don't have 10 cars. ... [But] I always tell guys, 'I'm not going to judge you. If that's what makes you happy, makes you feel like a man, do it. But do it because you love it.'
"Whenever I spend money, I always picture how I grew up and how much more of a difference that money would make in someone else's life. Right now I am supporting so many people that at the end of the day I have to make a smart investment so when I am done playing I can still support them. That's my different mentality."
A couple of other notes from the story: Dalembert one day wants to restore cars, and fly airplanes. He can also tell how fresh a fish is by examining its eyes.
(Via Sixers Shots)