NBA player Wenyen Gabriel found himself out of work when he was released by the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA offseason.
But after impressing for South Sudan at the Fiba World Cup during the summer, the power forward has secured a surprise career lifeline with the Boston Celtics.
Wenyen Gabriel was a role player for the LA Lakers last seasonCredit: Getty
The power forward impressed for South Sudan during the Fiba World CupCredit: Getty
Gabriel helped South Sudan qualify for the 2024 Paris OlympicsCredit: Getty
The 6-foot-9 Gabriel has reportedly been signed to a training camp contract by the Celtics, who recently gave up center Robert Williams as part of a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers for All-Star guard Jrue Holiday.
The 26-year-old will now compete with Kristaps Porzingis, Al Horford, Neemias Queta, and Luke Kornet for a place in the Celtics roster.
The Celtics are the latest stop for the Kentucky star, who has bounced around the NBA since going undrafted in 2018.
Gabriel’s journeyman career has taken in spells at the Sacramento Kings, Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers, and Lakers.
Last season with the Lakers, he averaged 5.5 points and 4.2 rebounds while appearing in 68 games.
Gabriel, who has earned $5.3million in his career so far, struggled to get meaningful playing time for the Lakers.
He used that time to serenade LeBron James with goat noises in homage to the legendary NBA player’s stature on the shortlist as the basketball GOAT – the greatest of all time.
“I mean, [I] wasn’t really playing much,” Gabriel told ESPN.
“And every time he would he would score or something, I’d be on the bench going, ‘Baaa-aaa.'”
But Gabriel proved his worth by helping South Sudan qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics with his performances at the Fiba World Cup.
As the highest-finishing African team in the tournament, it was the first time that South Sudan reached the Olympics in any sport.
“I’m with all my brothers. We worked really hard to get here,” Gabriel said.
“You can tell by the energy in the building, we’re all very excited.
“We’re honored. We’re very proud to wear South Sudan across our chest.”