Many know Italy as the birthplace of the Renaissance, and by extension, much of Western culture. It also happens to be home to NBA veteran Danilo Gallinari. The swingman, who hails from Sant'Angelo Lodigiano, came to the U.S. in 2008 to play in the NBA after four years of professional basketball in his home country. As he carved out a solid role for himself in the NBA, he also began turning his attention to philanthropy.Read More
Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Derrick Rose is giving high school students with proven leadership skills the chance to earn a college scholarship. The program is called Rose Scholars. Rose knows full well that higher education is an expensive proposition and that not all people with the skills and aptitude for college will have the opportunity to attend. Rose’s program is looking to change that.Read More
In North Philadelphia born and raised, NBA stars Marcus and Markieff Morris are giving back to underserved youth in their hometown this new school year. This past August, the Morris brothers and their recently established Family Over Everything Foundation hosted a backpack giveaway and community day at Hunting Park Recreation Center in Philadelphia for over 300 inner-city youth and their families.Read More
While 1993 Heisman trophy winner and former Knicks point guard Charlie Ward probably hasn’t been on your radar since retiring from the NBA in 2005, maybe he should be. Throughout his NBA career and since his retirement, Ward has been a fixture in his community mentoring students and coaching youth sports programs.
Although he spent two years post-retirement as an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets, Ward soon left professional sports behind to follow his calling as a high school coach, bouncing between basketball and football. Deeply rooted in his religious faith, Ward has been shepherding high school athletic programs in Texas and Florida for over a decade.
Up until this past spring, Ward coached varsity football for four years at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Fla., where he helped raise $100,000 for the program. He also helped students access free ACT/SAT and college prep courses, and he helped create opportunities for athletes to attend football camps, combines and other outlets for college exposure.
Now in his new gig as head coach of boys basketball at Florida High, Ward is back in Tallahassee where in 1993 he led Florida State University to its first national championship in football and the Elite Eight in basketball. His son Caleb is also following in his footsteps as a walk-on wide receiver at the university, having graduated from Booker T. Washington High School this past spring.
Considering his hiatus from coaching basketball, Ward recognizes he has some brushing up to do. However, as one of the most versatile athletes of all time, Ward’s relearning curve will not likely be steep. Besides, Ward prioritizes the positive youth development of his players well above winning games.
When Ward’s biography was published in late 2017, former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy shared the following tribute: ”I can't imagine if you're a high school parent and your son is being coached by a man with the combination of athletic success, personal character and competitive spirit that Charlie has. And now to pass all that knowledge and experience on to high school kids? It's perfect."
In addition to coaching, Ward also quietly pays it forward through monetary donations. In 2015, Ward established the Charlie Ward Family Foundation alongside his wife Tonja of 22 years and their three children, Caleb, Hope and Joshua. The foundation serves as a vehicle for their charitable giving to churches, schools and youth development programs.
Never mind that Ward is the only athlete to win the Heisman Trophy and play in the NBA, let alone be selected in the first round. Or that he was drafted by MLB teams twice, once after high school and then again after college despite never playing baseball at Florida State. Perhaps even greater than Ward’s innumerable athletic achievements is his humility as a leader of the next generation of young leaders.
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This past May, retired NBA All-Star Ray Allen and his Ray of Hope Foundation paid it forward in a powerful way in the city where Allen played his final games. As part of an ongoing effort to reduce the digital divide across America, Allen and his foundation presented Lake Stevens Middle School in Miami Gardens, Florida, with 30 Acer Veriton desktop computers and flat-screen monitors.Read More
NBA veteran DeMarre Carroll and The Carroll Family Foundation made a powerful statement this past July when they hosted their first all-girls basketball clinic in New York City. Committed to supporting underserved youth, Carroll and his foundation put on the clinic in an effort to minimize opportunity gaps for young girls and female athletes.Read More
Farming and basketball are not typically two professions mentioned in the same sentence. However, NBA veteran Ekpe Udoh is shattering all conventions with his new hydroponic urban farm in his hometown of Oklahoma City. In 2018, Udoh launched LGR Farms, an extension of his Let’s Get Right (LGR) foundation established in 2015.Read More
The first player ever from a Division III school to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft, Devean George is still defying expectations nearly 20 years later. With three NBA championships under his belt as a former Laker, one might assume George continued his post-NBA career in sports. But you know what they say about assuming...Read More