Atlanta Hawks Star Launches the ARMS Foundation and Hosts TBT
What made you launch the ARMS Foundation?
- Giving back is a part of who I am. Ever since high school I’ve always had a leading role in whatever I did, so I made the ARMS Foundation my platform to do what I love the most, and that’s making an impact and helping people.
Why is philanthropy important to you?
- Being in the situation I’m in as an influencer, a lot of people look up to us as sports entertainers, but it’s important for them to know that we’re all equal. We’re all supreme beings, and spending time with them and building confidence makes the world a better place.
Would you explain why your foundation has an affinity toward helping the youth, in particular, disadvantaged youth?
- Because that’s where it starts. My favorite quote is “It takes a village to raise a child.” It’s hard for parents to raise kids on their own and once they get to school there’s so many other influences that could destroy their growth and expose them to some not so good things. So, if I could reach out to certain places and work with people that have the right morals and values, that itself could help the overall impact. It’s awesome to watch!
ARMS stands for “Aspiration, Resilience. Motivation, Success.” Why are these four words so important to you?
- It’s a blueprint that I live by. We all wake aspiring to be great—you go through tough times, you get down on yourself; therefore, resilience is a factor, and in order to get through it, you have to motivate yourself and fight. A lot of people chase success, working hard to get there. Getting to where you want to be makes it all worth it in the end.
There’s been debate about whether professional athletes are role models or not. What is your viewpoint?
- We are role models and I think everyone should live their life as if they’re one, because that helps you make better decisions and understand that your purpose is bigger than you. Whenever you wake up, it’s not about the material, it’s about a bigger purpose. I think it’s a positive trait to want to be a role model.
You have a celebrity golf tournament weekend coming up in August. What can people expect from that event?
- I’m a very competitive guy and I’ve been playing golf for quite a while now. I’ve been diving into it and actually trying to get better so it’s going to be very competitive. You know at the end of every year, we do a 20 to 30 minute Q&A with the people and just elaborate with them.
Why is it important to use your celebrity status to bring awareness to underserved populations?
- Everyone wants to be at the top. It can be a tough road, however, it’s possible and attainable for everyone. It doesn’t have to be playing on one of the biggest stages to achieve your happiness. Some guys win in college and that’s enough. They turn the page. Some select a college, gain a degree, start a career and they are good with that. It’s people that struggle to find out what makes them happy and their true purpose. Being a professional athlete and in the public eye, we have a responsibility because we’re a role model, like it or not. It’s a good thing for us to speak about who we are. It helps strengthen the bridge between celebrities and the community.
TBT (The Basketball Tournament)
What made you serve as the host of the TBT games in Atlanta?
- Well, this is my home, so when something of that magnitude comes into my town, I would like to be a part of it. It’s a very successful tournament.
What does having the TBT games in Atlanta mean to the city?
- It means a lot. We have the Super Bowl coming up, and we have the TBT games here. Before I moved here, [I knew] there were some decent things about Atlanta, but now living here, [I realize] people on the outside have no idea how great this area is. In bringing people here from different walks of life, and those people walking around and hanging out, I think it’ll really allow them to see how cool Atlanta is.
How do you think the community responds when they see former, current and future NBA players come together for such a cause?
- I think the NBA is at the forefront of sports right now and it’s leading the way in the community. Everyone is chasing their dreams. It’s good to see my colleagues and brothers in arms get behind their community that they play in. It’s bigger than just going to a city to play basketball, it’s about making an impact in the community.
Why is Atlanta so near and dear to your heart?
- I grew up in North Carolina and I’ve been a southern kid at heart and this place has really embraced me. Being here for almost five years now, you drive by the places that you have lived or visited and see how big of a change there’s been in a year. Atlanta has helped me grow to be the best person I could be and has actually given me a path to finding out my ultimate purpose.