A homegrown NBA player is back in town inspiring the next generation of Kansas City athletes.
Miami Heat power forward Willie Reed Jr. has already put on two free basketball camps at University Academy Charter School and Brookside Charter School. There will be one more free camp on July 1 at Penn Valley Community College, but all of the 80 spots were filled within hours of it being posted.
It's all part of the Willie Reed Jr. #NOEXCUSES Foundation, started in January of this year.
"No excuses means no matter what anyone says, you can't make an excuse," he told kids on Monday. "No matter what your past is or where you were raised, don't make excuses. I went to college, did really well in college, but no, I didn't get drafted to the NBA. My story is never give up on your dreams."
"That's the proudest thing for me -- hearing my child say this is what I want to do, I'm making no excuses and I'm going to do it, and he did it," said his father, Willie Reed Sr. "He practiced at least 4-5 times a day, just shooting around, dribbling the basketball. He did it through high school, college, now the NBA."
The foundation also started a "No Excuses Scholarship" program as well as other programs geared to help children and teens in urban communities thrive.
"We're trying to build character, we're trying to build a study habit, not just basketball," said Willie Reed Jr. "To help them be successful not only on the basketball court, but in the classroom as well. I just want to give these kids something that I didn't get as a kid, but I'm trying to bring to Kansas City, that everyone feels like they can accomplish their dreams."
For more on the Willie Reed Jr. Foundation or to watch for the next free basketball camp, go to williereedjrfoundation.org .