Ivey talks to local youths about perseverance
He starred for Horns before becoming 2nd-round NBA draft pick
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.’
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.”
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.
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.