Argentina’s Aaliya also playing for famous father’s native Ghana.


Lee Aaliya loves basketball and most of his role models are from the game. But one of the Argentina forward’s biggest sports idols is actually a professional wrestler originally from Ghana – someone he calls dad.

Jeff Aaliya – more commonly referred to as Musambe Tutu – was known throughout Argentina in the 2000s as a wrestler for the TV show 100% Lucha (100% Fight).

“He was really famous from like 2008 to 2011. Even now when he walks the street people want to take pictures with him,” said Lee, who was born in 2004 and remembers watching his father a lot on TV or at the wrestling matches – when he wasn’t idolising the likes of NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal and former Argentina Golden Generation team member Walter Herrmann.

“I was a kid and I cried a lot when I saw him lose matches. But I really loved it. And I am really proud of him.”

Aaliya’s father is still very active in wrestling, in 2012 creating the Lucha Extrema series, and he is still on TV.

Lee himself gave wrestling a try as a youngster for about three or four years.

“When I was a kid I really liked it. I did it but when I went to school it wasn’t something for me. I still watch it though,” he said.

Aaliya instead has concentrated on becoming a better and better basketball player, and he is doing a good job with that. After starting the game at about 3 years old he grew up in the Sudamerica club and joined Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata in 2018 before moving to Atenas Cordoba this season.

Aaliya has already played twice for Argentina, helping the country finish second at the FIBA U18 South American Championship 2018, averaging 10.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks and then collecting 8.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks as Argentina reached the Semi-Finals of the FIBA U18 Americas Championship 2022

The year 2022 also saw Aaliya invited to the Argentina senior national team training camp for the February 2022 window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Americas Qualifiers.

“It was a beautiful experience with all the great teammates there and how they help you. They are all very good people. I will never forget it, and I was delighted that they gave me the opportunity,” said Aaliya, who did not make the rosters for the games.

Aaliya is playing at his first global competition in Hungary, and while he is competing for Argentina, part of him also is representing the homeland of his father. He finally visited Ghana for the first time this past January and February.

“For the first time I was getting to know my family. It’s my blood. It was really good. All of my family was there. We were really close to them. I am a Muslim. So it was really strong,” said Aaliya, who practices Islamic religion including fasting during Ramadan.

And Aaliya, who picked up 11 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals in his first U19 World Cup game, respects the journey his father took upon himself when he was only a couple of years younger than Lee is now.

“He left his country when the was 16 with some friends looking for something new. He was in Europe first and then came to Argentina. He wanted to go to Brazil and then USA. But he really liked Argentina and he met my mom. And that’s it,” Lee explained.

And that is why he feels that why he is also playing for Ghana.

“I was born in Argentina and I am really glad to be here for them. But I am Ghanian too,” he said.

And whenever he needs inspiration, all he has to do is think of his father – the famous wrestler from Ghana.


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