Summer On The Hill
Coming Home in the summer is always an exciting and very eventful time of the year. As usual a majority of my time is spent in Chapel Hill with the rest of my Tar Heel brethren. I still find it pretty cool myself to see how many guys who played at UNC still live or come back to visit the area. It just goes to show that the time we spent and the people we met while in college actually meant a lot to us.
Every year Tar Heels from all over the country or world in some cases, who attended UNC at different times meet up at our favorite spot, the best arena in the world, the Dean E. Smith Center. While our purposes for hanging out at the Smith Center are different the sense of acceptance and family is always the same. It’s a special bond that basketball players at UNC share. What also makes our bond unique is that it exists amongst players regardless of the time we may have attended UNC. For example, I was asked to be a guest speaker at Sam Perkins basketball camp. Not only was it an honor to be able to share my story with the kids at his camp, but it was also an honor to be able to speak at the camp of a guy who I watched play when I was kid. Age and time has never separated UNC players. If you played at UNC you are apart of the family for life. While I have known a lot of the players who played before me for quite some time. One guy still continues to impress me, and that guy is Rasheed Wallace.
While I consider most of the Tar Heel guys, good guys, Rasheed Wallace has raised the bar. While most know Sheed for his high release jump shots, extreme competitiveness that often led to technical fouls, and above average athleticism, I got to know Sheed the philanthropist. Honestly, I’m not sure if Sheed even wants this shared, but I’m sharing this story for two reasons. The first reason is to shed light on a situation that needs to be addressed that has been swept under the rug. The second reason is to applaud Rasheed for what he is doing and to try to get others to support his efforts. We have all heard about the Flint water crisis of 2014. The water crisis that left the people of Flint, Michigan with water that has been contaminated with high levels of lead. With the lead contaminated waters and lead pipes, the people were forced to use bottled or filtered water for their water use. Imagine waking up not just doing the most basic things like brushing teeth freely, or washing your face. A complete clean up is expected to take place by the 2020. In the meantime, while no one was looking, Rasheed and some of his friends have been taking trips to Flint, Michigan in moving trucks to deliver bottled water, and baby products such as ready-made baby formula. Sheed and his friends go door-to-door delivering the water to the families in need. Once again I’m not sure if Rasheed wanted anyone to know what he has been doing. I figured I would shed light on his efforts with hope that others will also step up and help him as well. If I have to delete this post, you know why, but aye sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission.
As the years past our Carolina family tree continues to grow. At the former players versus current players game this summer, the sideline was packed with kids. These kids were not campers. These were our kids, our own offspring, playing together and running around the court. It is truly a Blessing that we get to raise our children together. The family meet ups don’t just occur at the Smith Center, the kids play dates tend to hit various places throughout North Carolina.
Overall it has been a great summer, as usual! It’s always cool to catch up with the guys and their families and to see the growth we have made as men. It’s great to be around guys like Rasheed and Sam Perkins that you grew up watching on TV, and now to actually getting to learn from them from first hand. For the guys that I played with, we have literally grown up together and now we play the role of big brother to the current guys, just like the guys before us did. For the 2017 National Title team it’s no secret why they won their championship and after witnessing what I have witnessed from the current Heels team this summer. The guys are in the gym daily working hard. It’s a great feeling to walk in to the gym late at night to get a workout in and see the some of the current guys in there doing the same. For this upcoming season, I am predicting another National Championship. The team has added a very good experienced player in Cam Johnson from Pitt. I love Cam’s game and I think he will fit in perfectly at UNC. A group of very talented freshmen have also been added to the mix. The faster they catch on and get used to the college game, the better the team will be. Remember I said first, Back-to-back CHAMPS! It’s hard to go against the Heels especially when they have so much talented and experience returning. Don’t ever bet against UNC… the University of National Champions!
Till next time… GO HEELS!