Ivey talks to lo­cal youths about per­se­ver­ance

He starred for Horns be­fore be­com­ing 2nd-round NBA draft pick

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Mark Ros­ner Amer­i­cAn-StAteS­mAn StAff

Royal Ivey has spent a bas­ket­ball ca­reer prov­ing him­self wor­thy, ris­ing from an out­sider’s po­si­tion in a fashion that he be­lieves makes him well qual­i­fied to coun­sel kids.

Stand­ing in front of 65 chil­dren on Tues­day at Camp Glim­mer on Lake Travis, Ivey, a for­mer Texas Longhorn, spoke of his im­prob­a­ble rise from mar­ginal col­lege prospect to NBA vet­eran.

Royal, out of New York City, re­ceived no schol­ar­ship of­fers from ma­jor col­lege pro­grams when he left high school. In­ter­est in him didn’t in­crease by much af­ter Ivey spent a post-grad­u­ate sea­son at Blair Academy in New Jersey.

And yet, Ivey, pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity by a Texas pro­gram that needed help, spent four years in the Longhorns’ back­court be­fore be­com­ing a sec­ond-round NBA draft pick of the At­lanta Hawks in 2004.

He re­cently signed with Ok­la­homa City, where he will be­gin his sev­enth NBA sea­son as a team­mate of for­mer Longhorn Kevin Du­rant.

Ivey chron­i­cled that jour­ney — and do­nated some ath­letic shoes — to a group of 8-to 14-year-olds from Austin. The camp is funded

‘A lot of peo­ple told me I wasn’t good enough. I’m not the tallest. I’m not the fastest. I’m not the strong­est. No mat­ter what any­body tells you, you have to dream, you have to reach for the stars. I’m liv­ing proof.’

royal ivey

by A Glim­mer of Hope Austin, the lo­cal branch of A Glim­mer of Hope, which fo­cuses on ru­ral poverty in Ethiopia.

A Glim­mer of Hope was founded by Austin-area res­i­dents Philip and Donna Ber­ber.

Donna Ber­ber said any story with essence, truth and mean­ing is in­spi­ra­tional.

“You don’t have to be fa­mous,” she said, “but it helps. They re­mem­ber it.”

Ivey told the campers that he evolved from a mar­ginal stu­dent who was aca­dem­i­cally in­el­i­gi­ble for bas­ket­ball as a high school fresh­man to a good one by his se­nior year. He left Texas with­out grad­u­at­ing but is work­ing on the 15 hours he needs for a de­gree in ele­men­tary ed­u­ca­tion. Ivey as­pires to open a char­ter school when he is fin­ished with bas­ket­ball.

On the sub­ject of hoops, Ivey said, “A lot of peo­ple told me I wasn’t good enough. I’m not the tallest. I’m not the fastest. I’m not the strong­est. No mat­ter what any­body tells you, you have to dream, you have to reach for the stars. I’m liv­ing proof.”

Ivey, 28, played in Philadel­phia and Mil­wau­kee last sea­son. Now he goes to Ok­la­homa City, an as­cend­ing team in the Western Con­fer­ence that ex­tended the NBA cham­pion L.A. Lak­ers to six games in the first round of the 2010 play­offs.

Ivey be­lieves the Thun­der are well po­si­tioned for suc­cess with Du­rant.

“Port­land’s a young team and Ok­la­homa City’s a re­ally young team,” Ivey said. “Den­ver’s get­ting older and San An­to­nio is def­i­nitely get­ting older.”

Ivey has av­er­aged just 3.6 points and 1.2 as­sists in 13 min­utes a game dur­ing his NBA ca­reer.

But when he signed with the Thun­der, gen­eral man­ager Sam Presti said, “His de­fen­sive men­tal­ity, com­pet­i­tive­ness and well-doc­u­mented pro­fes­sion­al­ism adds depth to our back­court and strength­ens the iden­tity of our bas­ket­ball team.”

Ivey said he un­der­stands his role.

“I’ll just bring it ev­ery day in prac­tice,” Ivey said. “When they call on me (in a game), whether it’s 10 min­utes or two min­utes, I’m gonna be there.”

Jar­rad Hen­der­son

Royal Ivey gives a high five af­ter speak­ing to chil­dren at Camp Glim­mer on Tues­day. Ivey, who played four years in the UT back­court, is en­ter­ing his sev­enth NBA sea­son as he joins a new team, Ok­la­homa City.

Jar­rad Hen­der­son

Royal Ivey, right, helped pass out shoes to chil­dren — in­clud­ing Syd­ney, 7 — on Tues­day. Ivey spoke at a chil­dren’s camp spon­sored by A Glim­mer of Hope Austin.

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