"LOVE WHAT YOU DO" are the opening and closing words of our point guard Mr Randy Lofulo.
Born in the early 90s in the city of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.His story is not of “I was born loving this,”but of “I had to do it for myself.” Where one comes from or where they are should not be a limiting factor to achieve one's goals. In a world where limitations based on ones nationality are rife, Lofulo Randy, emerged as a brilliant and talented Basketball player.
In his early years, Lofulo Randy played football.His role model was the Brazilian soccer legend, Ronaldinho.
"I admired Ronaldinho. I wanted to play like him,” he recalls,"however, God had other plans for me, "he explained.
In 2006, Lofulo Randy was entering his teenage years which would seen him getting more and more involved in football when his family moved to China. This was a major turning point in his life. As a young boy Randy said "I felt sad…because I was leaving my friends and everything I knew behind, so naturally, when I got to China, I felt lost."
Like many other immigrants the challenges of missing family and friends were constant, that sense of being a part of two worlds and not belonging to neither one almost took its toll. Missing his friends and the familiarity of his native land was the least of his challenges as he had to attend a Chinese school, which meant he had to learn a new language too.To any child these could be the most difficult days of their young lives. However, Randy describes his situation as, God's will. "God knew what he was doing, I had to trust in his processes. Sometimes God puts us in uncomfortable zones to prepare us for what lays ahead of us."
Randy never got a chance to play football. The most popular sport was basketball, so young Randy had to try it out. After a few times of playing and familiarizing himself with the game, Randy says,"I knew my foot work was good with the ball but my hands were becoming even better with the ball.”
Sometimes we need to go out of our comfort zones in order to discover our true talents. In a short period of time Lofulo Randy, in China would become the 'Ronaldinho' of basketball.
Randy said, “when you finally are in line with your calling material gains don't drive you, but God's will which is unexplainable.”
If you love what you do, no matter how strong the force of pressure falls on you, you still find yourself standing still and stronger than before. Such is the story of the always positive Mr Lofulo Randy.
n 2008 only two years in China and having started playing basketball, he joined the Guangzhou Nike Team program so he could get the knowledge and skills he needed for the game. Driven by the love of the game, Mr Lofulo submitted himself to the training methods of more skilled experts of the game.
At only 15 years of age, Mr Lofulo was already making moves like a king.
Basketball became more than just a sport for Randy, but a lifestyle. Randy knew where he was and understood that if he was to be visible in the competitive sport of basketball,he had to step up his game in the extremely competitive,organized world of sports. The world of basketball has no room for mediocrity, the “pro” has to come out in you in order to better your game. With his dribbling and slam-dunk skills, Randy has created his own style in the world of professional basketball.
2011 led by determination and hunger for greatness, Mr Lofulo joined the Nike Yi Team again in the development program to learn more and get exposure on professional levels.
In 2013,while still at Nike Yi he got selected to be among the 12 players to go on camp where they would participate in an exhibition match. They were to play and receive training under the watch of international professional basketball players. Just so happened, Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star Mr Lebron James is the one who showed up. Randy was at his best as he exhibited his mastery in the use of his hands, balance, speed, and accuracy. Against all odds, Mr Lofulo's hard work paid off as he was selected as the best player by Mr Lebron James. He received prizes and other awards which included free shoes and a training plan.
“When you love what you do, nothing can stop you,”he says.
You can be slowed down or delayed but never denied.
After training camp, Randy signed a 2 year contract with Nike Yi. Randy speaks of his first paid contract with sincere gratefulness. "In the past, I was playing for nothing, to get such kind of money was a blessing. I was going to be able to help my family.” “Even though I came from a financially stable family, the way I grew up was like my father would say, “if you want something you have to work for it.” He wasn't gonna give you for free. So, if I wanted money I would have to do some work for him."
HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN EASY FOR LOFULORANDY ?
Every road that leads to greatness has its own challenges, and Randy's life had no exceptions.
"It has never been a smooth ride for me. There was a time when my family was in a financial crisis because the family business went down. Paying my school fees was a challenge.” He went on to recount how he also had medical conditions, which could have ended his life. Randy goes on to say “...because of God I survived." He stresses the power of God in his life.
For every challenge he has faced, Randy believes it was, “to prepare me for the big position ahead.We face delays everyday, but that should never derail us from our path.” Randy has dealt with many obstacles in his path to glory, but struggle has never pulled him down.
"I should have been a professional basketball player by now. If I were a Chinese national. Nationality has a way of delaying certain dreams, but I'm not complaining.We all walk our on paths differently,"he says.
This has not stopped Randy from enjoying his young life as a basketball player. However, he states clearly the need for discipline in the game of basketball or any other sport.
"I don't smoke or drink alcohol,” he says ,"...these vices have a way of bringing trouble to a young man's life.” He reiterates that he is not in a position to let his work spoil him. ” People flock to you, especially, women. They want to befriend you and not always for the right reasons.”
You cannot talk to Randy without him mentioning the tremendous power of God in his life. Randy is Catholic and a devout Christian.
HE TALKS ABOUT THE FUTURE.
Mr Randy will be traveling to America to further his horizons and gain more experience and exposure.
Asking him if he dreams of playing in the NBA, Mr Lofulo boldly and clearly states, “It would be great to play in the NBA, but that's not my ultimate dream. My dream is to help people get the chances I got so I decided to teach basketball.I plan to have many basketball camps around China."
This is more than just talk as Mr Lofulo already has a scheduled China Basketball tour. It will see him travel to more than 50 cities around China teaching basketball. This is his way of giving back to the community that gave him a chance to be who he is today.
His program is not only for China, but he plans on going beyond the Asian borders back to where his umbilical code is, Africa.
Plans are already at an advanced stage for a 3 day basketball camp for players between the age of 12-18 years of age. The camp is set to be in Kinshasa, Congo. It will see players receive different kinds of prizes, which include shoes and money. The game of basketball is a blessing to many, as it has given great opportunities to individuals and the community at large. “Basketball has really helped me be a better person, and I feel I should touch lives with it."
He has outlined all his plans for helping others. Explaining further he attributes his love for helping others to what he learned from his mother. “My mother is a cheerful giver, she gives anything even her own food, to help others. I grew up seeing her do this all the time."
Already Randy spends his free time teaching kids basketball. Mr Lofulo has found balance between school, basketball and teaching kids.
He is currently in his final year at South China University of Technology where he is graduating with a Chinese International Business Trade degree. Mr Lofulo is not only skillful in the court but also in life skills. He is fluent in: French, English, Chinese and Lingala.His degree is entirely done in Chinese.
The sky is the limit for hardworking Mr Randy. He is an inspiration to young people. The most powerful thing about him is his positive outlook on life. Even when you expect to hear him complain, always has something positive to say. His friends appreciate what he does through words, actions, kindness and motivation.Hope to see more of @LofuloRandy
by ZEKEY Pande Saxton