Groupe Adéquat, actor of the Tony Parker Adéquat Academy, will accompany the academics until they obtain their first job. Also, with this new “Sporting Word” section, you will find every month an interview with a top-level athlete who tells us about his journey, sometimes steep, to move from sport to the world of business.
Yohann Sangaré, recently General Manager of ASVEL Basketball, smiles as he tells us about his career as a player: USA, Spain, France, Italy to end his career with ASVEL Basketball, a club from which he will prepare his career transition, via the Centre de Droit et d’Économie du Sport (CDES) in Limoges.
The one who had stopped studying after the high school diploma returned to school after fifteen sports seasons. Determination, perseverance, work… Yohann Sangaré found the recipe that led him to where he is today: graduated from the “General Manager of a professional sports club” !
Before becoming a professional basketball player, did you consider a career path other than that of a top-level athlete ?
“No, not really. From the moment I decided to become a professional basketball player, I hadn’t planned a plan B. I studied in the United States, so I had to combine school and sports, otherwise I couldn’t play the games. But in the end, it was thanks to basketball that I kept going to high school and not the other way around.”
Have you had any regrets about not continuing your studies ?
“The idea of going back to school has always been in my head… but during my sporting career, it wasn’t easy. So when I had the opportunity to do it, I even decided to stop playing basketball a little earlier!”
How did this conversion go ?
“I had signed my last contract at ASVEL Basketball for three years, and it was planned that I would do my reconversion within the club. I applied to the CDES, where every two years they take two basketball players, so when I knew they accepted me, I stopped my basketball career and went for it ! ”
The fact that you were supported in your conversion was a real plus ?
“Yes, in some clubs, it doesn’t work that way… And that’s why the Tony Parker Adéquat Academy project, where the professional project outside sport is central, talks to me. Because reconversion is not necessarily at 35 or 40 years of age, there are also young basketball players who do not become professionals and who have difficulty finding their way. Some people think they can’t do anything other than basketball, whereas it would be enough if they received training…”
Can you tell us about a significant experience that has had an influence on your career path ?
“If there is one thing I remember, it is my association, Giving Back, which has allowed me to be active during my career. Having started to take an interest in something else, managing people, using computer tools that we don’t use in our daily lives as basketball players… I think it was essential to prepare my transition.”
What is the major advantage of moving from the world of sport to the world of business ?
“When you have a coach who gives you instructions, challenges you during games, knows how to work as a team, does not take offense, takes criticism as constructive remarks and does not tackle, etc., these are all valuable assets for the corporate world. Having the motivation to win, always being in competition… We athletes, even off the field, always want to be the best at what we do, because we have been formatted like that. I think that in a company, it can only bring bonus !”
The advice you would give today ?
“Not all former players are required to become coaches. There are new positions and diplomas developing, of general manager, stadium manager, managerial and supervisory staff. It is not necessary to set barriers and only stay in the pure sportsman. There are more and more people daring! And I think that when you are able to give yourself the means to become a professional basketball player, to get up at 6am to go to training sessions, run, give yourself,… you are also able to do it in the world of work.”