Joy of the Game

by August 13, 2013

by Krissy Harper / @CSNKrisHarper

After years of participating in basketball camps across the country, Scottie Pippen has decided to host a basketball skills camp of his own.

While out in Deerfield, IL, at the Joy of the Game facility, the six-time Champion spoke about why it was his time to take the reins. “I like sharing my skills and getting out with the kids, so it gives me a chance to get back out on the court with the kids and share my knowledge of basketball,” Pippen said.

There’s no shortage of camps for young athletes to choose from, but few boast a Hall of Famer’s presence.

“I’m here. That’s the difference,” Pippen said with smile. “But no, it’s just different things that I want to teach the kids. I’m a little different and what I brought to the game is different from any other player, so I’m trying to share what I believe helps the kids to carry over into the game. So pretty much the same things that everyone teaches in their camp, but again I’m here and I want my presence to be felt.”

One of the most challenging obstacles when planning an event is location. But Pippen lucked out on this hurdle and made the most logical choice.

“I live about 10 minutes from here so it is very convenient for me,” Pippen said. “And this is a facility that my kids use a lot and play in so in the summertime, it is an opportunity for me to get back out in the community and put myself out there so I can share what I know about the game with the kids. I’ve always done camps. I’ve always enjoyed doing them so this year I decided to do them here in Deerfield.”

And while some athletes chose to let their foundation representatives handle the majority of the planning and paperwork process, Pippen was hands on in the day-to-day decisions.

“Very involved. I’ve been talking to Josh Carr about this and it’s been a process,” Pippen said. “It’s probably been going on for about three years and I finally pulled the trigger. I’m here, again, at this facility all the time.”

Although Pippen was a regular at this gym and had countless experiences at other events, he never really saw himself hosting a camp on his own, admitting, “I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to be here doing a camp to be honest with you, but I finally decided to do it this summer. Doing a camp now is special for me because I have three kids of my own.”

Pippen recognized the importance of spending time with young athletes and developing their game at a young age. And now with his kids growing in age, coupled with his decision to host a skills camp, the time he gets to spend with his own kids materializes into memories.

“They will be here tomorrow and they are excited to get here, I’m looking forward to it. A lot of the campers have been asking about them,” Pippen said.

But at the end of the day, one mission stands above all: giving back to the community. This past summer has been a very productive one for Pippen as he undertook the task of developing a Pro-Am League, hosting basketball skills clinics in inner city parks, and the emergence of his own camp right outside of Chicago. Pippen believes in his philanthropic responsibilities and wants to promote the advancement of the athletes of tomorrow.

“It is definitely something that I take pride in. As you know I spent a lot of time here this summer, developing the Chi-League (Nike Chi-League Pro Am) and those Chi-League parks for the kids, so all that is really about giving back and making Chicago a better and safer place to live in,” Pippen urged. “So I know all these kids want to get out and play basketball. They want to see their idols. And having these coaches here who come whether it be to volunteer or whatever, it is just great to have them here because they are giving their time to the kids as well. Obviously I, or other athletes, get the credit, but it’s a lot of people who donate their time here.”

With all the accolades Pippen has garnered over the years, it is safe to say this might among be his finest accomplishments.