Ex-NBA star Penny Hardaway is known as one of the best basketball players to ever come out of Memphis. But before his multimillion dollar basketball career he was best friends with Desmond Merriweather and the two grew up in a rough neighborhood. After witnessing Merriweather miraculously survive cancer, Hardaway decided to give him a gift. Penny Hardaway decided to sponsor and help coach Merriweather’s son’s basketball team. CNN reports that Hardaway said that giving time is just as important as giving money.
With just over three minutes left in the state championship, Coach Penny Hardaway called a timeout.
He didn’t like what he was seeing. Down by 15 points, his middle schoolers were quitting. It stood against everything he had instilled in them:
“Don’t use the inner city as an excuse to fail.
You can overcome your circumstances.
Always dream big.”
The former NBA All-Star and greatest basketball player in Memphis history huddled his team of 12 together. He looked them in the eyes. He could see his reflection from 25 years ago: young teens from the city’s roughest projects longing for positive mentors.
“Just give me all you got,” he told them.
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