By Laura Amato
Haron Hargrave was standing in the checkout line at Macy’s when a woman approached him and actually questioned his knowledge of basketball.
The former Campus Magnet star was a bit taken aback by the question, but he didn’t brush the woman off – and now he couldn’t be happier with how it all played out.
Hargarve introduced himself to Yvette Morgan, the director of GEAR UP at St. John’s University, and the two started talking about their respective charity endeavors. Fast forward to September 2016 and the pair met on campus, working together to plan the third annual Ballin4Peace Celebrity Charity basketball game. This year’s event will be held at St. John’s March 4 and it’s the biggest game Hargrave has helped planned.
He couldn’t be more excited or more thankful for that moment in Macy’s.
“It’s been a blessing because every year, it’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” Hargrave said.
“[Morgan] was very interested in doing the game at St. John’s and bringing us on board there,” he added. “That’s a big thing for me, just meeting somebody without even thinking about it. You can’t make this stuff up.”
Hargrave has spent the last few months since that first meeting with Morgan planning the event and the support he’s received is nothing short of overwhelming.
He started Ballin4Peace three years ago with a simple idea – trying to better the community around him through the sport he loves so much. And, since that initial idea, the initiative has grown and expanded, hosting multiple events throughout the year and bringing in a handful of celebrities.
Hargrave, however, is always thankful for a chance to get back on the court. After all, the hardwood and the hoop have always been a home away from home for him.
“It’s always great to give yourself another reason to play basketball,” Hargrave said. “We’re all just playing for a good cause, but to have people come and support, financially and volunteer-wise, it’s always better that way. It means a little bit more that somebody is buying into what you’re doing.”
Hargrave has seen his basketball event grow every single year – last year’s game was held at York College – and he’s more than ready to see what he can do on an even bigger stage in 2017.
He has already got a handful of celebritiess committed to play – including “Scandal” actor Columbus Short, Love & Hip Hop’s DJ Drewski and Sky, and several area entertainers – and there are even more names set to attend, all anxious to participate in some way.
“We have a lot of people who want to be a part of the game,” Hargrave said. “They’re really coming in rapidly.”
Hargrave has always wanted to make a difference – he’s been given an opportunity to do that and he knows moments like that one in the checkout line can’t be wasted. He’s seizing every chance, making every move, determined to leave the world a better place than he found it.
And, most importantly, he’s drumming up his fair share of support as well.
Hargrave still believes there’s a bit of good in the world and he’s simply thankful to have a hand in it.
“That’s the most incredible part, now people want to partner up with me,” he said. “They see what I’m doing as well and they want to be part of it. That’s major.”