(CNN)While growing up in Douala, Cameroon, Pascal Siakam barely watched the NBA. But he took up basketball, he wrote back in 2016 for The Players' Tribune, because his father dreamed for one of his sons to reach the NBA.
Pascal Siakam after leading the Toronto Raptors to Game 1 win in the NBA Finals: 'I'm just doing it for my dad'
But Tchamo Siakam never got to see his son reach the top level of the sport, dying from injuries he sustained in a car accident in 2014. The younger Siakam, then living in the United States, missed his father's funeral at the urging of his mother, Victoire. Her reasoning: His father would have wanted him to keep playing.
Siakam, 25, has done that ever since, and he has taken to writing "RIP Dad" on his shoes during playoff games for the Toronto Raptors.
On Thursday, Siakam made history by leading the Raptors to their first win in the NBA Finals, 118-109, over the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 in the best-of-seven series. He did it all, finishing with a team-high 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting, with eight rebounds, five assists, a steal and two blocks.
"I'm just doing it for my dad," Siakam said to ESPN's Doris Burke on the court at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.