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American basketball superstar on his Galway roots

NBA champion Pat Connaughton wears a silver chain around his neck that says ‘Family Over Everything’. A saying that’s prominent in his bio on Instagram, too, it’s a motto he lives by.

And so it was special this week for the 6ft 5in Milwaukee Bucks shoot guard to return with his parents to the country of his ancestors, hailing from Clostoken, Loughrea, to host clinics for Basketball Ireland academy squads.

“It’s great to be over here, great to see the youth that loves basketball and has aspirations to do great things for the game,” said the 30-year-old star after giving a basketball clinic at University of Galway Monday lunchtime.

The Boston-born star, who won an NBA championship final series in 2021 – ending a 50-year famine for the Bucks – is proud of his Galway heritage and his grandparents’ link to Loughrea.

“For me, obviously, knowing where I came from, where my parents came from, and generations before them, is pretty cool. To be able to be back here, after having been fortunate enough to accomplish some of the dreams that I set forth, that has given me a major platform to try to grow the game of basketball in the country that started my family, is pretty cool,” he said.

Connaughton’s parents, Len and Susan, were among the visiting American entourage that brought NBA razzmatazz to Kingfisher Gym, where 70 young players and their coaches, from basketball clubs like Maree and Bearna, were treated to a masterclass of the game, and an inspirational motivational talk from the main man.

Also at the Pat Connaughton Foundation event were some of his cousins bursting with pride, Richard Connaughton, Ballymoneen Road, Madeline Fleming (neé Connaughton) and Ann Carroll.

“His grandfather Bernie Connaughton was reared in my grandfather Patrick’s home house. So he’s so close to us. We are all thrilled he is here, and so proud,” said Madeleine Connaughton, a Galway Courts Service worker from Racecourse, Loughrea.

Read the full interview with two pages of pix in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.


Photo: Pat Connaughton holding his clinic at the Kingfisher this week. Photo: Brian Harding.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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