Charles Smith, the former NBA (National Basketball Association) player, stopped off in the Azores en route to Cape Verde, where his family originated.
Smith’s trip to Cape Verde enabled him to be reunited with family members, meet local officials and attend countless events that he will not forget any time soon. He acknowledges he did not have the time to “take it all in”. Though he slept three hours a night, he “didn’t mind at all”. It was, he says, an “exciting” experience that kept him “energised” – a real return home that had a profound impact on his whole family.
Some time ago, he told us, his father went into a Cape Verde-owned store in New York and asked for help with translation so as to make contact with family members in Cape Verde. Two years later, in a club in Bridgeport, Charles Smith met Carlos Fidalgo, who was none other than the son of the storekeeper who had helped his father get in touch with his relatives. Moreover, on his first trip to Cape Verde, when he landed at Praia airport, the same Carlos Fidalgo was there waiting for him – so completing the cycle that their fathers had first set in motion.
In Smith’s view, the Azores are “one of most beautiful secrets in the world”. He has not yet visited the archipelago but a trip there is high on his list of priorities. When he does visit, he makes clear, he will bring with him a number of American celebrities.
The Azores “have such a rich history and culture,” he declares. “Tourists wants to visit because of the relaxation, great food and unique experiences. Both the Azores and Cape Verde are world-class destinations that can provide it all.”
Smith reveals that he would like to work with youngsters in Cape Verde on entrepreneurship and to promote the archipelago through basketball. Finally, he recalls a day when, at a post-training autograph session when he was still an NBA player, he heard a father tell his son that he should act like Smith off the court…
In Cape Verde, Smith had the unforgettable experience of discovering his roots. He slept just three hours a night but does not regret it. It was an emotional visit for his whole family.
When he does come to the Azores to get to know them as they deserve, Charles Smith promises he will bring along some American stars.
The Azores and Cape Verde have all the best conditions to welcome tourists. Both have a rich history and culture. They are peaceful and safe, have good food, and offer unique experiences.
Text by Cristina S. Vieira
Photos offered by Charles Smith
English version by Kevin Rose