A couple of weeks ago I watched MLK Riverside High School team play in a tournament at Redondo Union High School.
I could not refrain from asking one of the assistants how much Kawhi Leonard was donating to the basketball program.
Usually when a player makes good and is fortunate to make it to the NBA and make millions of dollars, he throws a few crumbs back to his high school. It’s a demonstration of loyalty and sends a message to the players in the program to help those perhaps less fortunate.
Now, before you Republicans start bashing me like you do President Obama, I will be the first to admit they don have a responsibility to do it, but they should.
I attended Fremont and Eric Davis made it to the Big Leagues and bought uniforms for the basketball team and is always a constant presence at homecoming events and the like.
Thus, I was thrown for a loop when I learned at not only does Leonard not do anything for the basketball program such as give the team shoes through his shoe deal, but also he doesn’t host camps, clinics or anything for his alma mater.
He’s not the only MLK grad to make it to the NBA who refuses to give back; Tony Snell who was a recent first round draft choice of the Chicago Bulls has shunned his alma mater as well.
To be fair, I don’t know if either of these players are doing anything in the Riverside communities from whence they came, but you rest assure that when that ball stops bouncing they will return.
During these economically crunching times, prep sports programs are more dependent on outside resources to keep sports programs afloat.
I learned this year that my alma mater, Fremont is struggling to raise $7000 for their CIF sanctioning fees. If they don’t raise the money they cannot compete in CIF events, which is all sporting events.
Leonard and Snell are among a new negative trend of athletes who don’t find it necessary to support their high school teams.
Westchester has been the launching pad for many top basketball players including Amir Johnson of the Toronto Raptors.
While former Comet Trevor Ariza of the Washington Bullets,
sponsors the annual holiday tournament, Johnson doesn’t give the school a dime and apparently doesn’t maintain a relationship with the coaching staff.
DeMar DeRozan is a model for being committed to his alma mater Compton High. Coach Tony Thomas has a great relationship with his former player and he provides the team with uniforms, tennis shoes and also sponsors other events.
Southern California has more players in the NBA than any State, and if by chance they were to all come together could provide opportunities for the thousands of young players following in their footsteps.
Former Crossroads star Baron Davis does a youth camp at his school each year for the past 15 years and also has sponsored a local youth club team.
Former Serra High Star Eugene ‘Pooh’ Jeter has been instrumental in paying tuitions for Serra student/athletes and he doesn’t have a multi-million dollar contract.
Ryan Hollins annually host a camp at Pasadena Muir each summer.
Russell Westbrook used to help out his former coach Reggie Morris Jr. while at Leuzinger and so did Dorell Wright, both of who attended Leuziner High School
Here is a vivid reminder to each of the you, including Arron Afflalo who went to Compton Centennial, when that basketball stops bouncing and all of your new friends are gone, the money is gone and your 15 minutes of fame, you will return back to where it all started and so you might want to retains some goodwill while you can.
No, you don’t owe anything, but where is your pride to where you came from?