Photo Couresy of:

Canada basketball
Crina Mustafa

Laeticia Amihere Continues to Grow the Game with Her Nonprofit Organization, Back to the Motherland

TORONTO, Ontario (April 26, 2024) - This month, Senior Women’s National Team (SWNT) Member & WNBA player Laeticia Amihere held a fundraiser with her non-profit organization, Back to the Motherland.

The evening consisted of many events, including a fashion show, a silent auction, and a panel discussion, all to raise awareness and funds for Amihere’s organization.

“Honestly, I think you underestimate how much work goes into planning every little detail, and I wanted it to be really memorable for my first event,” Amihere said.

Amihere launched Back to the Motherland in June 2022 to provide basketball access to minorities and underserved communities. Through basketball camps and workshops in Canada and Africa, the organization grew and reached more kids worldwide.

In January 2024, Amihere spoke about the importance of travelling to Ghana and holding a basketball camp and tournament. Now, at the start of her first fundraiser, she reflects on what she has been able to accomplish with Back to the Motherland so far.

“This being my first off-season, it gave me an opportunity to branch out outside of basketball, so I had a little bit more time than I normally do, and so this [fundraiser] and then also go to Ghana and the Ivory Coast were just great opportunities for me,” she said.

The fundraiser, named “Courage in Couture,” showcased three different fashion shows by designer Nykwale, who meshed Amihere’s various jerseys from across Canada Basketball, the WNBA, and Athletes Unlimited with Afrocentric fashion, using Amihere as one of her models. “I’m ready to begin my modelling career,” Amihere joked at the start of the show.

During the intermission, guests could bid on the silent auction in the room, which included prizes such as signed Toronto Raptors jerseys, Amihere’s jersey, Canada Basketball merchandise, and much more. In addition, they also held a panel discussion between Amihere, Hoop Queens founder Keesa K, physiotherapist and strength coach Benson Amihere, and founder of King’s Christian Prep Basketball Eric Bulthuis, who is also the former coach of Laeticia Amihere.

Amihere spoke about the difficulty of managing a nonprofit while being an athlete, mentioning how hard she’s worked this off-season ahead of her second WNBA season with the Atlanta Dream.

“I've really just honed in on the skills I need to work on,” Amihere said. “I also had the opportunity to play Athletes Unlimited, and I think that just kind of gave me a little bit of an opportunity to show what I'm able to do, and I'm hoping I can do that this [season] as well.”

During the offseason, Amihere also travelled to Sopron, Hungary, with the Canadian SWNT, hoping to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics this upcoming summer. After a rollercoaster of a weekend, Amihere was relieved when the team qualified in a tight result.

Already an Olympian for Canada, Amihere’s involvement with Canada Basketball has prepped her for her professional career. “Since I was 15, I have travelled around the world playing basketball, and a lot of athletes don't get the opportunity, so to understand what it takes nutrition-wise, mentally, and all the other things that it takes to be an athlete really helped me,” she said.

Amihere heads into the WNBA season at a time when women’s basketball is at its biggest audience than ever. Her former NCAA team, the South Carolina Gamecocks, went undefeated this season, again becoming March Madness champions. They last won in 2022, when Amihere was a senior, so witnessing this run was very special for her.

“It's incredibly hard going undefeated,” Amihere said. “The freshmen [on this team], they've never lost a college game in their life, so to be able to lock in and finish that off, I mean, I had tears in my eyes when the buzzer went off, it was just amazing.”

Building on the momentum of March Madness, fellow SWNT member Aaliyah Edwards was recently drafted to the Washington Mystics as the sixth pick in the WNBA draft. Amihere will contact her, saying she and a couple of the younger SWNT members have a group chat called “The Yutes.”

“She is beyond ready. She's had four amazing years; I've just watched her grow. I think we've both grown together. I think most of my advice has to do with being prepared for training camp, and I know that she's going to be beyond prepared for it.”

With her Back to the Motherland, the upcoming WNBA season and the Olympics, Amihere is booked to continue impacting women’s basketball. With the shift in eyeballs on the game as it grows, Amihere says that we must continue to uplift the women in the game.

“I think we have to be on the good side of history and all the amazing athletes doing an amazing job,” said Amihere.  

Amihere’s basketball journey spans the WNBA with the Atlanta Dream to representing Canada on the biggest stage this summer, knowing that her goal is to keep providing access to basketball.