Emmanuel Mudiay’s Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Emmanuel Mudiay and his mother, Therese Kabeya. (Instagram/emmanuelmudiay)

Emmanuel Mudiay and his mother, Therese Kabeya. (Instagram/emmanuelmudiay)

Emmanuel Mudiay’s trip to the NBA has been unusual. Coming out of high school as a highly touted 5-star recruit, he opted to take his game to China for a year instead of playing college ball for Larry Brown and SMU.

The reasoning behind that rare decision was simple: Family. And the story behind his family is an amazing one, filled with tragedy, hardship, sacrifice, and, with Mudiay soon headed to the NBA, unrelenting happiness.


1. His Father Passed Away When Emmanuel Was a Toddler

Emmanuel Mudiay's late father, Jean-Paul. (Instagram/kingjean_mudiay)

Emmanuel Mudiay’s late father, Jean-Paul. (Instagram/kingjean_mudiay)

Jean-Paul Mudiay, described as “a caring, fun-loving man who was 6’10” and well over 300 pounds, died from heart problems while he and his family were living in what is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He left behind a wife and three boys, the youngest of whom, Emmanuel, was only a baby.

“It was really a struggle,” said oldest son Stephane, who was eight at the time of his father’s death. “Every day, we prayed for something to happen, and it would. Sometimes, random people come by the house and drop off a bag of rice. We never were hungry, and we always came up with the money for us to go to school.”

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2. His Mother Took Her 3 Sons to the United States Amid War in Their Home Country

(Instagram/kingjean_mudiay)

(Instagram/kingjean_mudiay)

As Therese Kabeya struggled to provide for her three sons as a single mother, the Second Congo War erupted in 1998, and violence was often abundant in Kinshasa, the birthplace of Emmanuel and his brothers.

“I can remember bullets hitting our gate,” Stephane said. “I would just hide under the bed all night long, nonstop.”

Leaving her boys with her parents, Kabeya fled for the United States in 2001 in search for a stable life. Before the brothers were able to join their mother in Arlington, Texas, they were separated from her for a year. During that time, Stephane, who was 12, took care of his younger brothers.

When Emmanuel announced he was going to play in China instead of at SMU, there was speculation that the reasoning behind his decision was concern over rumored eligibility problems. But Mudiay quickly put those rumblings to rest, citing his mother’s struggles as the reason for skipping college:

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3. His Brother Stephane Played Basketball at Texas Wesleyan

Emmanuel (C) with his older brothers, Stephane and Jean-Micheal. (Instagram/emmanuelmudiay)

Emmanuel (C) with his older brothers, Stephane and Jean-Micheal. (Instagram/emmanuelmudiay)

Stephane, the oldest of the three brothers, received offers from Division-1 schools Denver University and Stephen F. Austin, but a back injury forced him to attend Trinity Valley Junior College.

After two years there, he transferred to Texas Wesleyan, helping the Rams to the NAIA Tournament in 2012. He graduated in 2013 with a degree in communications.


4. His Brother Jean-Micheal Played Basketball at SMU

Emmanuel Mudiay (right) with brother, Jean-Micheal. (Instagram/emmanuelmudiay)

Emmanuel Mudiay (right) with brother, Jean-Micheal. (Instagram/emmanuelmudiay)

Jean-Micheal’s basketball path has been a bumpy ride. When he was starting as just a sophomore at Mansfield Summit High School, he had the look of a star. But then he tore his ACL, and after coming back and becoming all-district as a junior, he tore his ACL again during his senior season.

He played two seasons at Western Texas College before getting an offer from SMU.

Although it was mostly a ploy to entice Emmanuel to also join the team (Jean-Micheal played just 28 minutes in two seasons with the Mustangs), the middle brother ended up making a significant impact in the locker room.

“When he goes to say something, it’s a different perspective because he doesn’t play as much,” said Larry Brown. “They all respect this guy for his character and work ethic. He has instant credibility.”


5. His Cousin Plays Professional Basketball in Germany

Moses Ehambe representing the USA at the Pan-American Games in 2011. (Getty)

Moses Ehambe representing the USA at the Pan-American Games in 2011. (Getty)

Moses Ehambe, a cousin of the Mudiay brothers, played all four years at Oral Roberts, averaging 11.7 points per game as a senior.

He went undrafted, and he has moved all over the place as a professional, playing in Germany, Venezuela, Spain and the NBA D-League. He averaged 14.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 2013-14 with the Iowa Energy, landing a contract with Bundesliga squad Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. His team went 10-24 this past season.

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