A group of local basketball players got the experience of a lifetime this week. A summer skills camp with a little extra motivation from a former NBA star who knows all about overcoming the odds.
4th through 12th graders from reservations around the state gathered on the basketball court this week in New Town to sharpen their skills and get a little encouragement from a former NBA icon
“They think we just show up in shorts and play man but it takes a lot of hard work and so I try to install them that you have to go out and practice,” says former NBA Player Spud Webb. “Once the game starts everything you practiced comes out in the game.
Webb knows all about hard work overcoming the odds as the third shortest athlete to ever play in the NBA and going on to compete for 13 years at the professional level.
“Ah he is too short, too fat and things like that and if you practice It dont matter,” explains Webb. “So always remember to just work on your game so you can get better
Webb’s goal is to motivate the next generation, and his impact is already being felt in North Dakota
“I think its cool that he kept on going and trying to prove people wrong on how short he was or how not fast he was,” tells Sophomore Staciey White.
“Its amazing, you get to see an NBA player and I hadn’t seen one in real life,” declares 8th grader Madden Parisen
“Its really exciting, I’ve never met an an old NBA player and its pretty cool,” exclaims White.
While Webb can’t do drills himself, players took advantage of the opportunity to show him what they’ve got
“Younger kids we worked with fundamentals like dribbling, shooting, passing and we had them competing and learning some simple drills that they will do whenever they get older,” says Organizer Kyle Decoteau. “The older kids we had them refining some of the drills that they do in high school
Organzier Kyle Decoteau never got the opportunity to meet a NBA player growing up, so he made it his mission to provide these campers with this opportunity.
“I’m very thankful that I’m able to bring it to the local kids here,” adds Decoteu.
As for Webb, he’s simply thankful for the opportunity to give back.
“Man I love it, this is what I live for, this is what you do in between your birth and your death and your death and getting to help kids, you never know which kid you will help or reach,” Webb said.