Fall is a devout Muslim, according to Yahoo! Sports; from 2012 to 2014, he moved from Dakar to Texas to Ohio to Tennessee to Georgia before finally landing in Florida for a scholarship at the University of Central Florida.
Fall is set for a big head-to-head matchup as the UCF Knights take on Zion Williamson and the Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament. Fall, a senior, is an intriguing NBA draft prospect and has drawn comparisons to other extremely tall NBA players.
Here’s what you need to know about Tacko Fall’s background:
Fall First Trained at a Senegalese Basketball Academy, Before Transferring to a U.S. High School
Per Yahoo! Sports, Fall was originally a soccer player as a child, but his supreme height led to a man named Ibrahim N’Diaye spotting him and suggesting he play basketball at his academy. N’Diaye, the publication notes, has a brother who played in the NBA and is now a coach at Georgia Tech.
Fall played at that academy for two years before transferring to a school in the United States. That school, based in Texas, closed shortly after Fall arrived, so he moved around to a number of locations (including up to Cincinnati with his father, who is a taxi driver there), before settling in Florida to attend Liberty Christian Prep. Fall’s mother still lives in Senegal and came to the U.S. to watch him play in his final game at UCF.
To the publication, Fall said, “I was really homesick the first year. I missed waking up and seeing [my mom and siblings]. We were a close family.”
Fall, a Devout Muslim, Wants to Use His Celebrity to Promote Peace
Per ESPN, Fall is a devout Muslim, and has been outspoken in his political and spiritual beliefs in the past. To ESPN, Fall said on March 21, “I love the game of basketball, but it has always been about getting people to understand what we’re about. That means a great deal to me. I was very sad about what happened in New Zealand. I thought about it a lot.”
He added, “We have to just learn to get along. Everybody — we’re all people. I grew up in Senegal. We have a lot of Muslims, we have a lot of Christians. We get along. That’s the culture where I grew up. We just have to learn to love each other.”
In 2017, Fall spoke out against Trump’s controversial Muslim ban as well. To Yahoo!, he said, “I think it affects Muslims all around the world because it’s called a travel ban but it’s for [only] Muslim countries and that’s the reason why [those countries are banned]. It affects all Muslims whether my country was part of the ban or not.”
“There are bad people everywhere but that doesn’t define Muslims. A lot of Muslims are good people. Muslims are good people in general so it hurts me when I hear that Muslims have this stereotype. The crazy thing is, it might not be bad right now but the kids that are growing up listening to how [bad] Muslims are, those kids we should be worried about.”