Sarah Chan is the first African woman to be the Manager, Africa Scouting for an NBA franchise. The inspirational South-Sudanese women rights activist is currently the African Scouting Manager for the current (2019) NBA champions Toronto Raptors.
Standing at over six feet, wearing jeans and a sweater, Sarah Chan shoots hoops in Nyayo Stadium where Strathmore University and Kenya Ports Authority have just finished playing a basketball game. Familiar faces greet her, and old faces hug her. She’s played here before too. Currently she is the Raptors lead scout in Africa, a position she considers a privilege and honour to occupy. Her personal mandate is changing lives.
She tells This Is Africa she heard of the story of a South Sudanese girl who was just 15 years-old and was going to be married off. She had seen the picture of the girl and was convinced that she had found a great basketball prospect. Chan took a flight to Juba, South Sudan the next day from Nairobi, Kenya, and convinced the parents of the girl to let her play basketball. A few days later, the girl was in a training camp in Senegal, training with the Raptors team there.
Chan, a South Sudanese native grew up in Kenya at a theological seminary. She started playing basketball there. In primary school, her athleticism didn’t go unnoticed. She would eventually enrol at the United States International University for her first degree and would play a critical role in the basketball team. Chan played in Europe for over a year for various clubs, being relentless and passionate about the sport.