Hometown NBA Player Visits Camelot of Escambia County
Reggie Evans, Pensacola native and National Basketball Association (NBA) power forward most recently with the Sacramento Kings, visited students at Camelot Academy of Escambia, invited and hosted by long-time friend Kenny McIntyre, now a high school computer lab teacher at Camelot.
Mr. McIntyre first met Reggie Evans when both played high school basketball in the Pensacola area. Mr. McIntyre was a freshman and Evans was a much larger senior. McIntyre had to guard Evans in a game at Escambia High, and Evans was so impressed that the two became friends from that point forward, and have remained so over the years.
“Even when he was in college at Iowa, we always stayed in contact, he was a good friend and someone I could lean on for advice,” Mr. McIntyre says.
Both men have grown a bit since high school. McIntyre, who stands 6’6” and weighs 240 pounds, says his friend has about three inches and 50 pounds on him!
Needless to say the Camelot students were enamored with the hometown NBA veteran. They of course were intrigued to ask what NBA players like Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are like. And they wanted to know where (at age 35) he plans to play in the upcoming season. (Maybe at close-to-home New Orleans?)
But even more important, Evans came up from the same disadvantaged background as these students, stuck to his goals and through hard work graduated college and has thrived in his basketball career. He was not the star player and has had to work hard for every success. His main message was trust people who earn your trust and hard work pays off, regardless of where you come from.
“He was able to touch all these kids in a way that they can relate to,” Mr. McIntyre said. “The rapport was great. The kids had their chairs pulled up close that day. They were very much into what he had to say and how he related to them.”
Reggie Evans lives in Pensacola in the off-season and comes home at every opportunity during the season. He organizes and hosts a celebrity softball tournament, featuring his NBA friends, in the summer. The real idea is to provide kids with someone to look up to.
Many of the students at Camelot do not have fathers at home so the staff at Camelot fills that void to the extent that they can.
“We keep bringing them up when they succeed, and when they do bad I let them know that as well,” McIntyre says. “It’s just about being firm and consistent with them.”