By Adam Biggers/@AdamBiggers81
Flint loves it athletes—especially the ones who use their elevated status to better the city’s youth.
They call it “giving back.”
You don’t have to look hard to find them, either. They’re always around.
“Flintstones” Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson have teamed up for camps in the past, and they have been hits each time around.
Peterson ran a free camp for at least seven years at Northwestern, while Cleaves—his teammate on Michigan State’s 2000 national title squad—is known for his one-dollar camp: “One Goal: One Passion.”
Each camp provided lengthy instruction. Kids often got a shirt after hours of learning from Peterson, a former Northwestern superstar, and Cleaves, a former Northern standout. Cleaves even promotes his camp on TV and Facebook, so you know there is a substantial amount of funding going on behind the scenes.
Flint respects Cleaves for that. Flint respects Peterson’s efforts too. Same goes for Antonio Smith, who's also offered low-cost instruction.
Moving on from the court to the field: Former Flint Carman-Ainsworth phenom Brandon Carr holds an area camp each summer. According to his website, registration is $60—which is what he charged in Flint, if I remember correctly—and campers get a free Under Armour T-shirt.
And health classes, and agility training—and the camps last for hours.
Depending on the family, $60 can be a lot of money, especially when it could go toward necessities, not luxuries. However, given the benefits, it should be considered a small investment in a child’s well-being, not just spending money for a kid to say he saw a famous dude for a few seconds while assistants did the work.
In their own ways, Flint guys have given, given and given. It doesn’t matter if they live out of state, hold legendary status in Toronto like Peterson, or appear on TV and radio on the regular like Cleaves—or, even if they’re playing Sundays with the Cowboys like Carr.
They all come back.
Excuse the long lede here, but it’s time for the point of this rant: Glen Rice should be ashamed of himself, and families from the city of Flint should certainly steer clear of his “camp” at Hill Road Hoops in Grand Blanc (Mundy/Flint--it's Grand Blanc), where from Aug. 7-9, he’ll be collecting large amounts during his 20-man, one-hour-and-15-minute sessions.
UPDATE: New details in MLive report now say three 75-minute sessions for $225. Still, doesn't really change the principle of the matter. This is NOT giving back. This is business for Rice.
How much instruction or “camp” experience can a kid get in an hour and some change? How much 1-on-1 can they get with a guy who scored at will back in his day? Probably not that much, and definitely not $225 worth.
Better hit two sessions, kid. You might get a few more jumpers and rebounding tips.
Yes, Flint, Glen Rice is giving back to the community. All he wants is about half of a struggling family’s weekly income.That's a conservative estimate. Some families are lucky to pull in close to $500 per week in Flint's bustling economy. And keep in mind, your kid doesn’t get a shirt or health classes.There isn’t any specific or specialized training, other than shooting drills, according to a recent report from MLive.
None of that. Just shooting in a gym in Grand Blanc, which can be a haul for some Flint families.
"I wanted to bring my skills training to Flint because that's home for me and I want to be able to do what I can to help the local kids improve their skills," said Rice, Michigan's Mr. Basketball of 1985. "Since I always come home in the summer, it's a great opportunity to teach the youth of Flint."
Let’s remember that the guy made $66 million during his 15-year NBA career, far more than most of the "youth of Flint" can even fathom.
Giving back, huh?
Look, things cost money. I understand that. It probably costs a little to rent Hill Road Hoops for three days. Rice’s time is worth something, too—after all, he was a three-time NBA All-Star and helped lead Michigan to a national championship that the kids have no clue even existed… but he put in a lot of time and effort into his young career—right?
I wonder how many free camps he attended in Flint.
But sure, $225 is fair, Glen… real fair to everyone but most of the families in Flint—Rice’s hometown where the average yearly household income comes close to one of his game checks.
Na, I'm kidding. They’re not even comparable.
Giving back, though! He’s giving back and he’s a hero.
People will go to the camp, and Glen will get $225 per head, per 20-kid session over three days. Do the math. However, to the Flint families barely making ends meet each month: Save your cash. There are other former high-level guys in the city who’d teach your youngsters for next to nothing.
Hell, they could probably run into Mateen at Genesys and play a game. It happens—frequently, actually. I’ve heard my fair share of “I played pick-up with Mateen” stories.
How about this? Collect dollars to send 225 kids to Mateen’s camp. They’ll get a shirt, a smile, a hug and learn from a guy who really wants to help and isn’t out to rake his community for a few bucks. Or go to Mo-Pete’s. Or go to Carr’s—and take your cheerleading daughters, they’re welcome too.
Skip Glen’s, though.