By Rich Bockmann
After achieving some major milestones in his own life, NBA player Royal Ivey plans to impart a few lessons to the youth in his old neighborhood with his fifth Royal Skills Clinic this week.
Ivey has had quite a year. The Hollis native took advantage of the NBA lockout to return to the University of Texas and complete his bachelor’s degree in Applied Learning & Development.
Once the season got underway, he and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder made it all the way to the finals, eventually falling to the Miami Heat.
Ivey always believed there are important lessons to be learned both on and off the court, said his father, Rod Ivey, who was busy earlier this week making the final preparations for the clinic.
“The whole thing is about giving back. It just resonated, the fact that he comes right back to his school. Even his elementary school teachers will be there and his junior high school coach,” said the elder Ivey, a page layout designer for TimesLedger Newspapers.
“It’s important to show these kids — especially through hard times — you know, that it’s more than what you see around you,” Rod Ivey said. “You can aspire to get out of that situation.”
The clinic is scheduled to take place at the IS 192 playground — on Hollis Avenue across from RUN DMC/Jam Master Jay Way — between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
New for this year, Rod Ivey said, will be an award given out for the best dancer.
“It kind of spontaneously started. The little kids just started dancing with Royal,” he said. “This year we’re going to give out trophies.”
While he was receiving accolades on the court at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, Royal Ivey was also displaying some impressive moves as a dance major.
His father said that every year they try to bring something new to the clinic. Last year it was a nutrition workshop. This year it will be a financial literacy workshop conducted by TD Bank, he said.
Team Ivey is also planning to have police officers stop by to talk to parents about gangs and the link between dropouts and incarceration and will be giving out books and other back-to-school supplies.
The basketball part of the clinic includes calisthenics, skill stations, demonstrations, drills and competitions.
Rod Ivey said the clinic has already preregistered about 70 youngsters, though children can walk in any day with a parent’s written consent.
As for Royal, after his run in the finals with Oklahoma, he returned to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he had played previously.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.