There were always kids playing sports where I came from. It was baseball in the park, football in the park, any sport actually, but for me, it was mainly basketball. I’m from an area in Columbus, Ohio, called The Hilltop. Growing up there, a lot of kids wanted to play in the NBA and do what they saw on TV. My friends and I were always outside playing.
It’s a totally different generation now from when we were growing up. Today, kids are either on the internet or playing video games. But for me, back in the day, we were always outside. I was always into basketball, always wanted to be in the NBA. I was always looking for a run.
My friends and I were into sneakers, absolutely. I always wanted the latest shoes, all of ’em. Where I’m from, if you had the cool shoes, it was like having gold! When the shoes that Penny wore, the Air Maxs, came out, those were the shoes that everybody wanted. And then when the cross-trainers came out, those were the shoes that everybody wanted. It was always something new.
Playing ball in college, I pretty much always wanted to go to Ohio State. It was in my home state, and that was big for me. I grew up as a Buckeye, and I always wanted to be one. I wanted to be a part of bringing Ohio State back to national prominence. So college was a dream come true for me. When I was in school, everyone would go to the Buckeye Hall of Fame Café. I hung out there. A lot of the students and the players would hang out there to watch the games.
Let me tell you, being in the NBA and being able to play in the NBA has far exceeded my expectations. It’s as difficult as I thought it would be. Actually, it may be even harder than I imagined. That’s the best athletes in the world, right there in the NBA. You gonna get the best of the best every night. It’s been pretty awesome, being able to travel from city to city. It’s a wonderful life to have.
I’m proud to have started The Michael Redd Foundation. I started this foundation because I wanted to give back to young people, and I also wanted to give back to both of the communities that I’m in, Columbus, my hometown, and Milwaukee, where I play. I wanted to teach kids about morals, and that it’s important to be a good human being. Being a good person is about more than just what you see on television. The foundation does a lot of different stuff. We run basketball camps, and we give away so much stuff, too. Whether it be to homeless shelters in town, schools around town, whoever, whatever. We just want to try to help young people and people in general.
Click here for more House of Hoops from Foot Locker.