Monday, May 01, 2006

Tamba Hali

I’m not a fan of mixing sports and human interest stories. The desire to reach a wider audience by running fluff pieces instead of actual events has ruined the Olympics and it makes many pre-game shows unwatchable. That said, I encourage you read this profile of Tamba Hali in the Sporting News.

Tamba Hali was drafted in the 1st round on Saturday by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 20th overall selection. A consensus all-American, the 6’2” 260lb. defensive end led Penn State to a surprising 11-1 record and was likely the second best lineman in the nation.

Hali graduated in 4 years, a great accomplishment for someone who arrived in the US at the age of 11 without speaking any English, but much more remarkable were the circumstances of this immigration. Tamba escaped from Liberia in the middle of its exceptional bloody civil war. An estimated 300,000 people were killed and 1 million more became refugees. In Tamba’s words, “By the grace of God, I am alive.”

Tamba was able to come to the United States to join his father but his mother remained behind. It has been 11 years since he has seen her, but with the financial security that will accompany the start of his NFL career he hopes to be able to navigate INS barriers and bring his mother and her extended family to the United States. I wish Tamba the best of luck.