“It is an amazing deal for me,” Wallace said. “That is pretty much what I base my foundation on in my home city. We grew up where, as a town, we didn’t have much to do. We didn’t have people come back and give us the opportunity to experience things we never experienced. For me to be in the position that I am in, it gives me the opportunity to come out and reach the kids that are not able to go out to the high-profile camps or be able to afford to travel around with AAU play. I think it is the perfect opportunity to do it in my own community.”
In their inaugural camp last year, Wallace had 144 in attendance. This year he will change things up as he plans to split the younger and older kids up.
“It begins July 11 and we are going to do two weeks this year,” Wallace said. “We are going to give the younger kids a chance to play. The second week is for the older kids July 18-22. It will give them the opportunity to learn. I think last year was a good experience, but I don’t think the older kids and young kids mixed well, so we decided to separate them.”
Wallace hopes by separating those two groups it will allow him the opportunity to teach the older kids the skills they will need on the court to play at a higher level.
“With us separating them into two weeks it gives the younger kids their own week to have fun,” Wallace said. “The second week is for the older kids and it gives them opportunity to be more basic with them on a skill level,” Wallace said. “It is more teaching. We try to interact with them and give them the basic skills that they will need to succeed at the next level.”
The nine-year NBA veteran believes hard work will help the kids succeed at anything they put their mind too.
“I think it shows the hard work,” Wallace said. “I know I am looked up to by the kids of the community. Anybody that they see on TV that is all of a sudden in their neighborhood becomes a role model to them. Their dream is to one day to be on TV no matter what it is. I think the main thing is understanding where I came from and what it took me to get where I am and bringing that back and helping these kids get to that level or the goal that they are trying to reach.”
Growing up in a single-parent home, Wallace was inspired by and looked up to his mother.
“When I was growing up I looked up to my mom,” Wallace said. “My mom was my role model and my inspiration. She got up every day and went to work at Winn-Dixie everyday, no matter what was going on. She provided for me and my brother as a single parent. The things she did for us gave me the opportunity to go and do things and travel and see places and to put myself out there as a basketball player. She never missed a game; it got to a point where I wouldn’t even play if she wasn’t in the building. She was always there supporting me. Most of the time we would go to schools and they would sell out. My mom would be running a little late and they would say nobody else is getting in the gym. I wasn’t going to play. If my mom can’t get in, I’ll go home. The sacrifices she made, she made sure we had the best clothes and she will have to go down to Dollar General or Family Dollar to get her a pair of shoes just to make it to work in. She made sure we kept up with the latest style and that is something that you cherish growing up and you look back on when you get older.”
Registration is still open for the camp, which costs $50. For more information, visit www.GeraldWallaceFoundation.org.
Contact Lavonte Young at email@example.com