By Patrick Donachie
Young basketball enthusiasts will have a chance to further develop their skills in Hollis this weekend at the ninth annual Free Royal Skills Basketball Clinic, during which time they can be coached by retired NBA point guard and Oklahoma City Thunder basketball coach Royal Ivey.
The camp will be held Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from noon until 7 p.m. at Hollis Playground and the Renaissance School (Intermediate School 192) at 204th Street and Run DMC Jam Master Jay Way. The camp will include about 120 boys and girls from ages 8 to 13.
The camp will be hosted by Defending Your Dream, which works with children in the area to develop life skills through basketball fundamentals. The organization utilizes the attractiveness of professional basketball to instill lessons of sportsmanship, leadership and literacy improvement.
Defending Your Dream is a labor of love on the part of the entire Ivey family, including Ivey’s brother Sterling and their parents, Rod and Jennifer Ivey. According to Rod, a graphic artist who also works with the TimesLedger, the camp started as a way for the Iveys to help neighborhood kids.
“We just wanted to give something back to the kids and show them they could do what he did,” Rod Ivey said. “Most of these kids won’t be pro-ball basketball players, but they like basketball. We try to help them to plan their lives in a more well-rounded manner and teach life skills and basketball skills.”
Ivey played for Cardozo High School before playing for the University of Texas at Austin. In 2007, he signed a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, and for the next seven years he played for the Philadelphia 76ers, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Atlanta Hawks. In 2014, he was named an assistant coach with the Thunder’s minor league affiliate and was promoted to being an assistant coach with the Thunder in July.
In addition to instruction from Ivey and others, camp-goers are supplied with books and other supplies to help foster learning and reading among the children and parents. Additionally, camp-goers will take home bags and other sports-related items.
On Friday evening at 7 p.m. at the Renaissance School, the organization will also host a community screening of the short documentary “Royal in Hollis,” about Ivey’s many roles as player, coach and community leader.
The camp is also helping to kick off the Royal Skills Academy, a longer program that will run from September through November. To register and learn more information about the camp, call (718) 465-3888, e-mail defen
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona