Being a prince isn't all it's cracked up to be.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sometimes act like royalty, but they can't hold Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's crown. The Bucks forward is actually a prince in his native Cameroon. As a result, many people have the wrong impression of what being a real life prince is like.
"When people here know you are a prince they think of Eddie Murphy and [1988 movie] 'Coming to America,' which is totally not true," Mbah a Moute explains to CNN. "My dad is just the chief of my village, it's not like Zamunda or the crazy things you see in the movie -- I don't have my face on the money but you get treated with respect and have ceremonies."
Furthermore Mbah a Moute says he didn't grow up in a wealthy childhood. It was "regular middle class," he says. The Bucks' big man grew up with a total of seven brothers and sisters.
The former UCLA Bruins player didn't start playing basketball until the age of 12 after being introduced to the sport by his twin brother. He arrived in the United States without having a grasp of the language. "It's a pretty interesting journey," he says. "When I first came here I just knew how to say 'hi,' 'how are you' and 'good night' -- pretty much that was about it."
Mbah a Moute's parents stressed the importance of education. His father initially didn't want him heading to America. "As a matter of fact, my dad really didn't want to let me to come to the United States. He didn't believe I was gonna go to school, he thought it was something basketball. It took some convincing to get him to understand. No, I'm going to go to school as well, and If I didn't do well in school I wasn't going to play basketball."
Certainly that decision has paid off.
The Milwaukee Bucks think enough of the 25-year-old from Cameroon that they recently gave him a four-year, $18 million contract extension.
Despite his financial and basketball success, Mbah a Moute admits being homesick. "Ya know it sounds crazy, I miss home since I left and I've been here almost eight years," he said. CNN showed the Bucks forward driving around Milwaukee with African tribal music pumping from his car speakers.
Certainly Mbah a Moute wants to parlay his success on the pro basketball court to help others back home. "The most rewarding part is being able to impact people," he says. "I represent Cameroon, Africa, keeping the dream for other kids."
Mbah a Moute is one of only seven active African basketball players in the NBA. He's giving back through the basketball without boarders program.
--Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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