Kids who attended a basketball camp in Union City received a pleasant surprise when a special guest walked into the gym: NBA center Enes Kanter.
Kanter and Union City officials have teamed up to host a one-day basketball camp as part of the city’s annual back-to-school celebration. Union City mayor Vince Williams was in attendance and saw the kids’ reaction to seeing an NBA player in person.
“It shows that people like Enes Kanter, but also parents in the community, care enough about their children to ensure that they are exposed to people who come from similar circumstances,” Williams said. “This incredible day that has taken place, these children will never forget.”
The event was hosted by Willie “Bo” Barber II, the pastor of Prospect AME Church in Fortson, Georgia. The goal of the camp was to show how the community supports and encourages young people.
“The community starts by investing in our youth,” said Barber. “It starts by being relevant in their life and showing them not only that we know they exist, but that we actually see them and not just hear them, but we listen. By showing young people that voices of confidence are happy to come and engage with them, it means “we believe in you”.
When asked how Kanter ended up in Union City, Baber said it started with a mutual friend he met in Washington DC “While we were in Washington I hooked up with this guy , we became quick friends. We did a bunch of podcasts and other social justice stuff, ”explained Barber. “And he called me about a month ago and said, ‘Hey brother, would you like Enes to come work with you?'”
Barber couldn’t believe what he was hearing, but his friend explained that Kanter had never been to Georgia state, and it was becoming an informer. Barber said yes, and a month later the Turkish NBA center traveled to Union City.
“No meeting is by chance,” Barber said of the events that began with the mutual friend. “There is always a divine intervention, I believe, that says you meet this person for a reason, and that person matters in your life.”
In addition to the basketball camp, the young people also received backpacks as they prepare to return to school, as well as a game truck, pizza and other outdoor activities. . Kanter, who was traveling throughout the state of Georgia, said he was happy to give back.
“Putting a smile on children’s faces is priceless,” Kanter said. “We’re not just talking about basketball, we’re talking about healthy lifestyles, respect for others, education and how to be a great teammate. I think it’s important to come here and try to inspire as many people as possible, especially children, because they will be our future.
Barber shared those same thoughts, stressing the importance of devoting time and effort to children.
“I encourage all organizations to make sure that we create spaces to invest in our young people and be patient with them,” exclaimed Barber. “And in the next 10 to 15 years, we won’t have to worry about leadership because it will already be in place. “