Flint Star: Hope & Basketball

This week I have talked about failed dreams and a lot of negative aspects of living in Flint so I wanted to wrap things up by talking about the hope that hoops provides it’s residents.

One of the ways that basketball provides kids hope is the adulation kids receive for excelling at this sport. High school games in Flint have upwards of 6,000 fans come out to games and it provides kids a way to gain positive notoriety in their community.

A Genesee County Job Corps Basketball Player told Davenport that, “you can’t describe the feeling that you get. Everybody’s anticipating you to do these things. They are hyping you up and you can’t believe the moment will ever get here. Once you are into that locker room and you see your jersey sitting by your locker… the butterflies that go through your stomach. At first it’s like, so scared, you don’t know what to do and you don’t want to let these people down but once you put that jersey on you become Superman. It’s like I’m invincible. You can’t describe those feelings when everybody quiet in the locker room, you say your little prayer, and then it’s time to actually go out. Go out on the floor where all these people, hundred of people, are waiting to cheer your name, your school out. Man, it’s so surreal. You probably couldn’t believe it if you weren’t there. You hit that big bucket, you hit that first bucket, the whole crowd goes wild. From that moment on you feel like you can’t miss, like you are invincible.”

You don’t need to be a star player to enjoy the benefits of play ball. A  Flint High School kid told Davenport in the documentary that he goes “to the open gym every day. If I ain’t hooping then I’m going to be doing the wrong thing. I’d rather have a basketball in my hand than a gun.”

Athletes like Mateen Cleaves have lifted up by his community because he refuses to forget where he came from and he tries to take care of the people he grew up with. Cleaves thinks the future for Flint looks bright because, “we’ve got kids from five or six years old doing things that I can do with the ball. When I come back, and going through the old hood and the playground watching kids, and watching kids from Flint, it’s out cold. We’re going to keep guys going to college and pros for years to come in Flint. The future looks so bright man. You’ve got kids that can falt out put the ball in the basketball. They are doing stuff I couldn’t do when I was that young. The future is looking bright but we just gotta’ keep them active. We gotta’ keep them into sports and make sure they know that they gotta hit the books. As far as basketball wise they can play. We gotta’ keep them away from guns. Keep them away from drugs. Keep them away from all that negative stuff and keep them on that positive vibe. Guys like myself and other pros, and some of the younger guys right under me, continue go back and help these kids. Flint, we’re going to stay as one of the top basketball cities in the nation.

Here’s to hoping that more athletes from Flint turn out like Cleaves and are willing to help out their community once they make their millions in the NBA or NFL.


6 thoughts on “Flint Star: Hope & Basketball

  1. Just a reminder to everyone: You can’t participate in the judging at NBA GM Fixit until the contest starts on June 12. If you want to vote for my Raptors plan at Fixit, you have to wait till June 23.


  2. You got my vote Jeff ! Bringing some vets will help the kids’ transition and make the re-building process work.

  3. you got it all wrong Jeff, sorry to say. BC said it…the roster needs an overhall. Im willing to bet cash that by the draft, the raptors will trade E will, Matt Bonner, Pape Sow, Mike James and waive Alvin Williams. Im almost 100% sure Mo pete will stay. He is a raja bell type player and a good role player thats hard to come by.

  4. Gabriel, remember that this is not a prediction of what BC will do, it is my opinion (back in May) of what I would do.

    But I did catch what BC said, that he sees a need to “overhaul” this roster. Whether he could do all of it this summer remains to be seen. And by “overhaul,” I assume he means that there are still some untouchables on this roster. I would hope that list includes Bosh, Mo Pete, and Villanueva, but I ain’t a professional, award-winning basketball brain like BC is. 🙂

  5. Its true that in May there was much less info available. I still maintain the raps need to get a seasoned vet all star type like Paul Pierce or Ray Allen

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