PHOENIX SUNS

Suns’ Bismack Biyombo brings Congo to the pope after trip canceled

Jun 21, 2022, 6:30 PM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis may have canceled his planned trip to Congo because of his bad knee, but he had a visit Tuesday from one of Congo’s brightest basketball stars who briefed him on his humanitarian efforts back home.

The Phoenix Suns’ Bismack Biyombo had a private audience with Francis at the Vatican hotel where the pontiff lives. The 6-foot-9 Biyombo towered over the Argentine pope, even as he stood for photos.

Francis, 85, has been using a wheelchair to get around after straining ligaments in his right knee. He had to postpone a planned July 2-7 visit to Congo and South Sudan because doctors said the trip would jeopardize his therapy.

Biyombo said the Congolese people were patient and knew he would eventually come.

“If he is not feeling good he can’t get on a plane,” Biyombo told The Associated Press in St. Peter’s Square after the audience. “I think if he wouldn’t go to Congo, I will bring the Congo to him,” he said, laughing.

The center, who has played 11 NBA seasons with the Suns, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors, briefed Francis on his foundation, which began by teaching Congolese children basketball, then providing them scholarships, refurbishing schools and hospitals, and building a hospital in honor of his late father.

“Just being able to be in the presence of the pope I think it’s a blessing,” he said. “I wish I could have brought my mum here but she’s absolutely happy that I got to be able to do that and to get the pope’s blessing.”

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, left, talks to Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during ...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns get clutch with Mikal Bridges to beat Raptors

The Phoenix Suns got back to winning in clutch time and the recent terrific play from Mikal Bridges continued.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges shoots against the Toronto Raptors at Footprint Center in Phoenix, ...
Jake Anderson

Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges explodes for 29 points in win over Raptors

Suns wing Mikal Bridges was on fire in Phoenix's 114-106 win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night at Footprint Center.
1 day ago
General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns looks on after the game against the Miami Heat at F...
Kellan Olson

Trade deadline mega preview: Will Suns get active in wide-open West?

The Phoenix Suns are one of a handful of teams that could come out of the West and improve their team before the trade deadline.
1 day ago
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) battles for the ball against Phoenix Suns forwar...
Kevin Zimmerman

Report: Suns give Bucks permission to meet with Crowder; interested in Raps’ Anunoby

The Suns have given the Bucks permission to speak with their forward. Phoenix also has interest in Toronto Raptors forward O.G. Anunoby.
1 day ago
Cameron Payne #15 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball against OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors...
Arizona Sports

Suns-Raptors injury report: OG Anunoby out for Toronto

Suns star Devin Booker remains out for his 18th straight game, while Toronto's OG Anunoby is set to miss a second consecutive game on Monday.
2 days ago
Phoenix Suns' Mikal Bridges, left, celebrates after a basket during the second half of an NBA baske...
Kellan Olson

Mikal Bridges goes supernova in OT Phoenix Suns win vs. Spurs

If the Phoenix Suns finish a game ahead of another team in the Western Conference standings, remember their OT victory over the Spurs.
3 days ago
Suns’ Bismack Biyombo brings Congo to the pope after trip canceled