Getting 44 on the Floor
A good player and better person, Leon Powe is healthy and ready to go to work.
by Lana Minacapilli
If Cleveland hasn’t yet realized it, the Cavs have more than just a resilient, driven, basketball player in Leon “The Show” Powe. With Leon, they got a true role model and mentor for today’s youth.
Give Powe a challenge, and he’ll gracefully accept it. Put an obstacle in his path, and he’ll find a way to move it. Try to keep him down, impossible. Now 100 percent healthy and ready to bring his hardcore grit and rugged play to the court, Cleveland is about to get the real deal of what basketball legends are made of. As his nickname “The Show” implies, you do get one, just not the kind you’re used to from a professional athlete. There’s no flash here. The show you get from Leon has two parts.
The first part of the Show is what drives him, where he came from, his background and his desire to always pay it forward. Never forgetting his roots in Oakland, he never misses an opportunity to give back. Leon gives much credit to his success in life to mentors that were there for him, like Bernard Ward. He credits Bernard with much of his success. Now Leon has taken on the role of mentor himself, in several ways. Powe is co-founder of Fresh Start Family Services in Oakland, Ca. This program is a service which provides mentoring and independent living skills for those, ages 14-21, that are in or transitioning out of the foster care system. Powe, better than anyone, knows how important it is for these kids to have a strong support system to help stay focused to achieve their goals. In addition to this foundation, four the past four years Powe has run The Leon Powe Above and Beyond Basketball Camp. This camp offers kid’s ages 7-17 an opportunity to attend a top-notch basketball camp, which normally would not be financially possible for any of them.
Powe’s hard work is paying off. Opening this January in Hayward, California, is Dream Courts, the largest indoor sports facility in the nation. This facility has dedicated one of its full size regulation basketball courts to Leon. The “Leon Powe Court” will henceforth be the site for his annual basketball camp.
How fitting that a center, such as Dream Courts, which is not just a sports complex, but a change of lifestyle center to offer better opportunities, would choose to honor Powe with a court bearing his name. For his part, Powe is thrilled.
“This is better than anything I could have ever imagined,” says the 26-year-old. “When I was a kid my brother and I had to look for gyms or places we could practice, we had nowhere to go. Now, for me to be able to offer a place like Dream Courts for kids to not just have a place to work out and play, but a place to learn and have mentors right there for them, that’s just big! My vision is to at some point even be able to offer all kinds of after school programs for kids there, like help with homework, just everything I didn’t have available to me.”
“Unbelievable,” is how Powe describes the feeling of seeing his son, LP3 (Leon Powe III), and fiancée Llorren shooting around on this court with a huge mural of him looking over them.
As stated, there are two parts to the Show. The first part is Powe the person; the second part is Powe the basketball player. Fueled by a passion to succeed, Powe’s never give up, never stay down attitude is apparent every time he hits the court. Plagued, some would say, throughout his career by knee injuries, awards and accomplishments are proof positive that when presented any type of hardship, including physical, he overcomes it. The first athlete to have his number retired at Oakland Tech, after hurting his knee, he went on become the 6th player to lead the Pac-10 in both points and rebounds. Later, he would play a key role on the Boston Celtics 2008 NBA Championship team.
Looking at his amazing response to past adversity, someone must have forgotten to tell Powe that he has an injury issue.
Now squatting 275 pounds in rigorous and continuous workouts, Powe is ready for more than just spot minutes on the court.
The Show has just begun, and getting “44 on the floor” will introduce Cleveland and Cavs fans to a remarkable athlete and human being.
Lana Minacapilli earned her BS in Communications/Journalism from Suffolk University. A freelance writer, this article was written for SLAMonline and for Mogul Executive Services.