By: Krissy Harper
Chicago summers bring more than just sunny skies and the smell of bar-b-que in the air. In recent years, an increase in violence has unfortunately plagued the youth. According to local media reports, Father’s Day weekend was the but with the return of the Nike Chi League, there are hopes that this positive event will remove the youth from the city’s hard-ridden streets—allowing them to take part in the competition or cheer from the stands.
“I truly think that is the focus here—trying to keep these kids busy during the summer and give them something to do that they enjoy. And not just for the kids who are playing the game but for other kids to come and see the game too. So as a whole, hopefully it is a winning situation for the city,” Pippen continued.
Chicago native and the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Anthony Davis has proven there is a chance to succeed with hard work and dedication. Just three years ago Davis was an unknown athlete dreaming big on the south side of the city. And although he has realized his potential, he desires to bring more positivity to Chicago’s youth.
“It’s great to come back and do something for the city of Chicago—it’s where I’m from. It’s a blessing and I can’t wait for everything to get started and see what awesome talent we have here in Chicago. Like I said I’m just excited; ready to get the ball rolling,” Davis said.
Prior to the tip off of opening day this past Saturday, Pippen, Davis and his former Kentucky teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist hosted a group of young student athletes. They gave them advice and “coached them up” on the dos and don’ts of successfully moving through life despite unwanted circumstances.
“Then for guys like me and Mike who had a chance to talk to the younger guys, I wish I was able to do anything like that to motivate them even more and help pursue their dream to play in the League,” Davis said.
While Davis is—for lack of better words—a hometown hero, Kidd-Gilchrist, who’s from New Jersey, might not have grown up in the windy city but has battled through obstacles in his own right. And when asked why he was partaking in the opening ceremony of the summer league, he jokingly pointed to Davis saying “him,” but then with a reassuring smile said, “It’s something new in the city. I wanted to be a part of something new here and have some fun while I’m at it.”