Washington Wizards All-Star and KaBOOM! All-Star Playmaker Antawn Jamison is at it again—he’s building another playground with KaBOOM!, this time in his hometown of Charlotte! Just like the builds Antawn participated in last year with KaBOOM! in Bossier City, La., and Washington D.C., he’s writing a weekly blog about the upcoming build, which will take place on July 11 at the Simmons Family YMCA.
Well, I’m counting down the days until my fourth annual basketball camp and first playground build in Charlotte! I usually try to relax as much as possible around this time of the year just before my basketball camp starts. I know that once camp starts, I'll be going nonstop (especially with my playground build going on at the end of camp). Most other basketball camps last for four or five days but mine lasts for only three days. The biggest difference between my camps and other athletes’ camps is that I spend pretty much the entire time with my campers coaching and getting to know them. Most athletes only show up for a few minutes of each day and let other people do all of the work. I could never do that. For years, I didn’t have my own camp because I didn’t want to do it until I knew I could commit to being there with my campers all day. I think that's also why I enjoy working with KaBOOM! on our playground builds.
Our playground builds give me a chance to spend an entire day working on one project with hundreds of volunteers and the people who will actually get to use the playground – the kids! I think it means more to my campers and the kids who get to play on the playgrounds we build when they can see me out there spending time getting to know and help them. It makes it more about an experience and showing them that I really care about helping them instead of me just writing a check or showing up for 30 minutes to say a few words. In fact, meeting the people I’m helping means almost as much to me as it does to them. It‘s really fulfilling.
Other than waiting for my camp and playground build, I’ve just been working out hard trying rehab my ankle and get back into basketball shape. Besides doing rehab stuff, I’m doing a lot of yoga – which has really helped me become even more athletic and improve my flexibility. I actually started doing it two years ago and it has done wonders for me. I have my own yoga instructor who comes to my home a few times a week. I had her come out to my basketball camp last year and introduce yoga to my campers. I wanted to introduce yoga to my campers because most young athletes think that it's just for women and can't help them. I definitely think that most athletes can benefit from yoga and should at least give it a try. More and more professional athletes are trying it and I think it's going to continue to catch on.
On another note - I’m not sure if you’ve heard but I just lost a few teammates and gained a few new teammates over the past couple of days. My Washington Wizards just traded the number five draft pick in this year’s draft, Darius Songaila, Etan Thomas and Oleksiy Pecherov to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Mike Miller and Randy Foye. Although I hate to see Darius, Etan and Pech go, I really like this move for our team. If we can stay healthy, this move could put us in contention for the top of our division and conference. Mike Miller is a friend of mine and I’m looking forward to playing with him. He’s an incredible shooter who will complement everything we’ll be trying to do with our new coach. Randy Foye is an all-around good player who can play both guard spots and provide us with great flexibility and depth. Watch out Wizards’ fans, we’re looking to make some noise this season!