Life and hoops lessons
Published 9:15 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014
What former NBA player and Suffolk native Michael Britt aims to give back to his community has been very specific in certain instances lately — he wants to give them the same things he had in Suffolk when he was young.
Such was the motivation behind the first Britt-Quinn Enterprise Inc. free developmental basketball clinic held on Monday at the Robert W. Harrell Jr. Physical Health and Education Center on Bank Street.
Britt said he remembered growing up and participating in free clinics at Birdsong Recreation Center.
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“It just compelled me to get together with a couple of guys and see if they would be interested in doing something to that magnitude, and they said that would be nice,” Britt said.
He assembled a group of experienced current and former players and coaches to work with the youths that came. They ended up with 12 participants ranging from fifth to ninth grade.
“I was kind of expecting more kids to come, being that it was free,” Britt said, but noted the event was a bit spur-of-the-moment and will be planned out more in advance next year.
Those attending, however, got the intended benefit of the clinic to teach life and hoops lessons, starting with some words of advice from former NBA player Teko Wynder of the Western Tidewater Community Services Board.
“Whenever (Britt) has an event and every time there is an event in Suffolk where kids are coming, kids are going to be around, I want to be there, because that’s my job, and I want to be known in the community as a person that sacrifices himself for the kids,” Wynder said.
Following Wynder, one of the instructors, Chris Branch, challenged the youths to make good life decisions with a cautionary tale from his own life.
Britt noted that the participating youths were from Suffolk, and most of them were at-risk.
In addition to words of wisdom, they, of course, received basketball instruction, including how to dribble, pass, defend and work together as a team.
Wayne Lynch, who has over 25 years of coaching, teaching and counseling experience, serves in his own community in Virginia Beach, but wanted to help Britt out in Suffolk, as well.
“I think it was well-run,” he said of the clinic. “It was very informative. The kids that were there learned a lot from the guys that were there.”
And the youths got an unexpected bonus, too.
“They kept us overtime,” Britt said. The event was meant to run from 9 a.m. to noon, but everyone did not leave until nearly 2 p.m. “They weren’t ready to go, and the guys weren’t ready to let them go.”