Featured photo: Former Eldorado High and New Mexico Lobo basketball player (pictured) Daniel Faris played professionally for eight years in Lebanon but left before this season. He lived just 10 minutes from the massive explosion that rocked Beirut on Tuesday.
By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
While COVID-19 continues to devastate the country and the world, ironically, it very well could have saved the life of Albuquerque’s Daniel Faris.
The horrific explosion that rocked Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday was a mere 10 minutes from where Faris lived until this year.
“If COVID and the financial crisis didn’t happen in Lebanon, I would have still been there this year,” said Faris, who has played professional basketball in Lebanon for eight years and plays for its national team.
Faris, 33, is a contributor to Enchantment Sports and has written about the issues of playing in the war-torn Middle East.
He played basketball at Eldorado High School, winning the state championship his junior and senior years (2004, 2005), before becoming a standout at UNM under former coaches Ritchie McKay, then Steve Alford.
The Lobos won a share of the regular season Mountain West Conference championship under Alford in 2009.
Last year, Faris shared his thoughts about the state basketball tournament on our website.
In October, Faris said he decided not to go back because “the financial system crashed.. The teams couldn’t pay American dollars anymore.
“The people there are really struggling.”
When the coronavirus hit last winter, it ended any thoughts Faris might have had about returning.
He said he has been reaching out to many in Lebanon all day.
“I’m feeling really sad for Lebanon,” he told Enchantment Sports. “They were already in a really bad financial crisis, then COVID hit, now this.
“I’m worried for a lot of my friends there. They have been sending me videos all day.”
Faris said he will try to write a column for Enchantment Sports in the coming days with more of his perspective about the horror in Beirut.
Mark Smith has worked in New Mexico sports media for more than four decades, and is one of the most decorated sports journalists in state history. Smith has won more than 30 combined awards in print, television and radio and has been honored nationally for investigative reporting. He is the editor in chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at mark.enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.