NBA player Rudy Gay seeks to empower the youth in Baltimore
BALTIMORE, Md. (WBFF) -- NBA veteran Rudy Gay may be a San Antonio Spurs but his roots hold strong in Baltimore.
Right now, the 6’8” small forward is hosting the Rudy Gay Flight 22 Classic.
The basketball tournament features east coast AAU teams and allows young players the opportunity to showcase their talents on the court.
“I was in the same shoes they are in,” said Gay. “I made something of myself. It’s possible.”
Gay said the hope is to instill that drive in other young athletes, especially those from the Baltimore area.
Parents believe the tournament is just what the city needs right now.
“There are so many negative things going on in our community,” said Tyisha Bogues, Muggsy Bogues daughter. “The murder rate is sky high. It’s important to keep them active and doing anything positive.
Tyisha Bogues’s son plays for Team Thrill and says basketball has been instrumental in shaping her son.
“It teaches them skills that they will need on the court, as well as off the court,” said Bogues.
Gay admits Baltimore’s crime rate is disheartening but is quick to want to focus on the positive.
“It does hurt to see somewhere you’re from being looked at in such a negative light,” said Gay. “It’s also one of the reasons I wanted to come back and do this. Kids need a new outlet. They need more ways to assert themselves. They need more options and more opportunities.”
Money raised from this tournament will go towards Gay’s Foundation, which helps provide area disadvantaged youth with resources and opportunities.
As for his career, Gay is coming off an Achilles tendon injury and told Fox 45 Friday he’s cleared to play.
“I'm feeling good right now, said Gay. “ I'm cleared to play and honestly I feel like it woke me up. It made me feel like I have a lot more to give. This year with the Spurs you can see a more efficient, more hungry Rudy Gay."