28-year-old Aristide Mugabe is an accountant with security company ISCO but also, a renowned basketball player with Patriots BBC. Since becoming captain in 2011, Mugabe has led Espoir Basketball Club to three league titles and three play-offs titles. He also guided Espoir to the 2012 and 2014 editions of the Genocide Memorial Tournament (GMT). Sharon Kantengwa had a chat with him.
Who or what influenced you into basketball?
Nobody influenced me. I just fell in love with the game when I started secondary school.
What is your game philosophy?
I always want to be the best, dominate every opponent, and win every single game.
How long have you been playing the game?
Since 2001, when I was only 13 years old. That’s 16 years of basketball.
What are your dreams regarding the game?
I have always dreamed of playing on another level, in better leagues, play pro basketball for some time, and win more titles, not only for my team but also individually.
What do you find interesting about the game?
Basketball is life. It gives you another family and can take you places.
What is the best advice that you have received from your coach?
To never give up, and that I can be what I want to be if I work hard.
Which one has been your most memorable game?
The 2012 Zone5 final game where we won the final. I was the most valuable player of the tournament and the top scorer of the tournament as well.
Which basketball player inspires you?
Allen Iverson. He’s won the NBA scoring title during the 1998–99, 2000–01, 2001–02, and 2004–05 seasons, and is one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, despite his relatively small stature.
What are the most points that you have scored in a game?
What do you think needs to be done to raise the game’s momentum in this country?
We should start teaching kids how to play the game from a young age, and also, we have to put strength in promoting the game, marketing it, and supporting our local league.
Can one have a full time career in this game?
Yes. Why not? Not too soon though, but if we work hard and invest in the game, it will be a dream come true to many.
What is your relationship like with other team players?
I think I have a good relationship with my teammates off course, although we are very competitive.
How do you balance work and basketball?
I don’t work over the weekends, and I work till 5:30pm which means that I practice every day after work and over the weekend. It’s not easy but it’s possible because it all depends on how much you love the game and how you manage your time.
What advice do you have for aspiring basketball players?
They just have to be hard working and good things will come their way.