It was left in June, ovationed by the public of Nanterre but eliminated by Asvel in the semifinals of the Jeep Elite playoffs. After two seasons in the green jersey, Lahaou Konaté left his "club of heart" with a place in the 5 major of the championship, the statuette of best defender of the season and an international status.
At 27, nothing seemed to prevent her flight. Requested by prestigious clubs in France and Europe (Monaco, Andorra …) in the offseason, he had given his agent white-seign. Four months later, while the championships have resumed, the winger is still without a tunic. Instead of stacking points, he points to Pôle emploi.
It is found, a gray October day, the Navigators and Aviators at Orly. Where he grew up and where his mother still lives. For a month, the international (10 capes) returned to live at home. "It's weird, it's been more than 10 years that I earn my living and I'm autonomous, and then I go back to the mama, he says. I rented a box to store my main belongings but I have pretty well shielded my mother's apartment too (laughs). I could have taken an apartment but what for? Even if I sleep on the couch, it feels good to come back home. I enjoy my mom, we have tea together, we discuss. She is very caring for me, she pampered me and made me good food. But I can see she is anxious about the situation. "
As a teenager, basketball had saved him from bad dating and traffic in the neighborhood. Today, he came back to recharge his batteries. Even if the decor has changed – "it becomes a city of rich, they want to destroy all the bars" – Konaté has its bearings: the school Paul Eluard at the bottom of the building and his gym, where he made his first dribbling, the stage where, kid, he was going to support the football team. "I do not hang out as I did younger, but it's my neighborhood, it's where I feel the best … I have my friends, my reliable guys, dads and moms who have me seen growing up. Some are surprised to see me without a club. No one understand. "
They are not the only ones. In the basketball world, his situation challenges. Coaches, former partners or opponents, have called him to support him. "I was at the top and there I am without a club, I have the impression of having achieved a bad season or being hurt, blows the MVP of the last All Star Game. I refused proposals because the goal was to go abroad, not necessarily for a big stable because I'm not greedy, but I just wanted to discover something else. These are things I can still live at my age, I have no children. "
To put all the chances on his side, Konaté trains every day. Morning and evening. Sometimes late, until the closure of the complex "The One Ball" in Noisy-le-Grand where it is allowed to enjoy the facilities. He also left for Kosovo one week in September at his own expense. Since his return, he is taken in hand by the physical trainer of Paris Basketball and participates in the collective training of the club of the capital. On the other hand, he declined the invitation in Florida of his childhood friend Charenton Evan Fournier, star of Orlando (NBA). "I can not, I have to be ready if a club calls me," explains Konaté. Workouts allow me to let off steam, to think of something else. I need that otherwise, I could fart a cable. But I tell myself that it's a bad thing for a good. It's life that's like that. I lost my dad (in 2009), I have friends who have died, what happens to me is nothing next. Life is a succession of challenges. It's a new one. I did not expect it but I am ready to take it up. I'm going to celebrate my 28 years in a month (November 17th) I hope that by then I'll have a club. "