I grew up in Winchester, VA on the North End. I was taken away from my family by social services in 1987 at the age of six. On July 7, 1988, I moved into a home for abused & abandoned children. The children's home is called The Evans Home for Children. When I was young I was filled with a lot of emotions and didn't quite know how to channel them properly. I was lost, confused, angry, upset, scared not to mention stubborn. I would play basketball everyday at the group home's outdoor court as well as at Douglas Park & The Civics. Basketball gave me a way to escape from the everyday troubles and thoughts racing through my young mind. The residents gave me a sense of pride knowing that I was not alone. The caretakers were amazing people yet I didn't realize it or have a true understanding of who they were to me at the time. Through it all, I can honestly say this home saved my life. I stayed in school, improved with my academics and behavior issues and continued to use basketball as a way to channel my negatives into positives.
I moved out of the group home in August of 1999 when I left to attend college in central Virginia. I struggled for a while as a young adult trying to make it in this world as so many others do. I have now lived in NYC for the past 14 plus years. Since moving up here I have really started to look in the mirror. This has taught me to stop worrying about my past and start doing for my future by taking full control of my present. I love to do charity work and give back as much as I can. I help out at soup kitchens, meals on wheels, City Harvest, cleaning up the streets and waterways, feeding the homeless every chance I get and trying to teach the younger generation to do the same by getting them involved too.
I named this charity event, “Paying It Forward”, as that is the best way to live in my honest opinion. I'm not quite sure where I would be if I didn't have folks that loved, cared & supported me throughout my life especially as a kid/teenager. This first year will have the sub title of "Hoops for Hope“ because basketball was my first true love. I set out to get in touch with as many local basketball legends as possible. Winchester is my hometown but Northern Virginia and primarily the Shenandoah Valley is all one big community in my eyes. I have about 75 legends from high schools & colleges in the area signed up for the charity game, although most of them are not playing.
This event is solely donation based with all proceeds being split between the Evans Home for Children & a North End organization known as Hood Love. This means everything to me to be able to give back to my hometown community. Both of these places helped make me the man I am today and have given me more as a child than I could ever repay them for.