Harrison Barnes teamed up with former Dallas Police Chief David Brown to host a youth basketball camp and leadership discussion in South Dallas.
“I think the future is bright for his NBA career, but brighter for what his character will bring to the city of Dallas,” former Dallas Police Chief David Brown said to reporters when sharing his thoughts about Harrison Barnes.
On June 10th, Exline Recreation Center in South Dallas played host to Harrison Barnes’ basketball camp where over 150 kids in the community from ages 8-18 came to learn from Barnes himself about basketball, leadership and life.
When most basketball camps cost a pretty penny, the coolest part about Barnes’ camp was the free admission for the kids.
Basketball was the game, but talking about real life issues was the goal.
"“It’s important to get up close and personal with these kids and talk about real life issues,” Barnes said when talking about interacting with the kids. “A lot of times they see us on the tv screens, but until we actually get down and a kid can ask us real questions and see that we are real, we can encourage them to be leaders.”"
All of the kids were broken down into five groups where they rotated around the Center learning about defense, shooting, dribbling, and more. Barnes spent time going throughout the stations where he dribbled alongside of campers and sometimes played a little defense.
After the training sessions, Barnes sat down with Chief Brown in front of all of the campers to talk about the importance of leadership in the community. Barnes said the goal of the discussion was to tell the kids “that you don’t have to be a highly esteemed member in society or a basketball player to be a leader in the community. Everyone can be a leader.”
In addition to Chief Brown, Barnes partnered with the Dallas Police Athletic League to put on the event in South Dallas. According to the press release for the event, one of the main goals of the event was to “build the relationship between youth and law enforcement, and provide life and character-building skills for at-risk kids in the South Dallas area.”
When talking to the media, Chief Brown had some high praise for the character of Harrison Barnes and what he is doing in the community of Dallas.
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“This is a place where these kids have big dreams but many challenges. To see Harrison come here…it means so much for me to see this. This is not just a basketball camp, this is showing people in this community that you care. It’s heartfelt,” Chief Brown said.
It truly was a cool moment on Saturday watching kids of all ages interact with Barnes. No matter the ethnicity, grade level or social class, kids were smiling ear-to-ear as they interacted with Barnes on the court.
Barnes even took time to play in numerous games of knockout where each age group sent out six kids each to take on Barnes. When Barnes did miss, he would normally follow it up with a dunk that would send the campers into an eruption.
It was hard not to have a smile on your face yourself.
But the biggest smile in the gym for most of the day was Harrison Barnes himself.
“Athletics are God-given, but that’s not the best part of Harrison,” Chief Brown said.
Barnes exceeded everyone’s expectations on the court this past season in Dallas, but the city is quickly learning that his character is the most impressive thing about him.