Salah Mejri: Paving the Way for Mena Basketball Stars

Salah Mejri, the towering 7ft 2in Tunisian basketball sensation, chronicles his journey from meeting LeBron James as a 29-year-old NBA rookie to becoming the only player from the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region to enrich the league. Last time, this region also became well-known thanks to its online casino games for Arab players and online sports betting at a halal casino. Read what you need to play at an online casino. As the NBA prepares for the games in Abu Dhabi, Mejri talks about his vision to inspire the next generation of Mena basketball talent in hopes of helping them rise to the highest levels of the sport.

Mejri’s NBA Impact

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The story of Salah Mejri is one of perseverance and determination, as after a successful career in Europe, he didn’t make it to the NBA until the age of 29. For four seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, he played alongside legends like Dirk Nowitzki and rising star Luka Doncic, bringing athleticism, interior defense, and experience to the team.

With upcoming NBA games in Abu Dhabi with the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves, Mejri is excited about the potential impact on the basketball scene in the Mena region. In an interview with The National, he expressed his excitement, stating, “When you get good coverage of basketball, people will like it more”

First and Only NBA Representative from the Mena

Mejri is actively involved in developing talent in the region, running camps in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, and Bahrain, and working with NBA scouts and coaches to identify promising players. His goal is to pave the way for young talent and lead them to scholarships at American high schools and colleges – a contrast to his unconventional path to the NBA.

As the only NBA representative from the Mena area, Mejri recognizes the responsibility that comes with his success. He said, “I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s easy now. But since I left the NBA, a lot of people have crossed my path in the street and said, ‘my kid is playing basketball because of you.’ It’s an honor for me and a great feeling, being the first [Tunisian] to play in the NBA.”

Mejri’s NBA Reflections

Looking back on his time in the NBA and the impact he had there, Mejri thanked those who guided him. Despite his departure from the league, he remains passionate, “I always have that fire and always ask why I’m not there.” Although he has received calls from Europe, the 36-year-old is contemplating a return to the Middle East or a possible retirement from professional basketball.

Mejri gave insight into the ongoing NBA Finals and praised Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets for his unique style of play. However, he sees the Miami Heat, with their winning tradition, as an opponent to be taken seriously. Mejri remarked: “Miami has that. Individually, they don’t have anybody who can match Jokic. OK, Jimmy Butler is great. But he’s not Jokic.”


Salah Mejri’s journey from Tunisia to the NBA serves as inspiration for aspiring Mena basketball players. With the NBA returning to Abu Dhabi, Mejri’s vision of paving the way for future talent is gaining momentum. The impact of his legacy extends beyond the court, and there are stories of kids who got into basketball because of him. The NBA Abu Dhabi Games is a beacon of hope, providing a platform for the region’s rising stars to showcase their skills and potentially follow in Mejri’s footsteps.

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