Mamadi Diakite’s parents are Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite and Aminata Kaba. They both live in Guinea. Per The Washington Post, Diakite’s father is a former director of Guinea’s national pharmacies and laboratories, and his mother is a specialist in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology.
In an interview with UVA Today in 2018, Diakite said, “Guinea is very different from here. It’s a Third World country, as they say. To me, it is a great country. That is where I am from, where I grew up. People are very social, even if there is a lot of poverty.”
Diakite’s parents can speak French, but his English was rudimentary when he first came to UVA. He said to UVA Today, “At first it was really hard. … I only spoke basic English. I could tell people I was hungry.” He added, “But I found my way, and hung around some good people who really eased the process for me.”
Here’s what you need to know about Diakite’s parents, and their role in his basketball career:
Diakite’s Father, Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, Encouraged Him to Play Basketball Because It’s Less ‘Violent’ Than Soccer
Per The Washington Post, Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite encouraged his son to switch from football (AKA soccer) to basketball because soccer is known for fights in Guinea. He said to the publication, “I often sat to watch my son play football (soccer). He played excellently well but I was worried. Football is a violent sport. That’s why I told him one day, ‘Mamadi, are you interested in basketball?’ And he answered, ‘No problem, dad.’”
To Cavalier Insider, Diakite relayed his version of events, regarding how his father convinced him to switch sports. He said, “He told me to just try it, and if I don’t like it I can keep playing soccer. I was like, ‘OK.’ I tried and it was really fun because I could dunk and stuff. I was like, ‘That’s really good. I think I’m going to switch sports.’”
According to Streaking the Lawn, Diakite can speak five languages: English, French, Malinke, Soussou, and Peul. French is technically the official language of Guinea, but Malinke and Soussou are nationally recognized languages of Guinea as well, and Peul is a dialect that’s found in 20 countries across West and Central Africa.
Diakite’s mother, Aminata Kaba, told The Washington Post that her son’s slim frame was concerning to her, especially considering his athletic endeavors. She said, “He got tall quickly, (but) I worried about his skinny waist, compared to his age. But his father told me he needs to grow up fast. He gave him a lot of [dairy and eggs].”