Arizona’s Aaron Gordon uses stardom the right way

Photo Credit: Tony Capobianco 

The dichotomy between good and evil was exemplified in the recent weeks and instilled an “us against the world” mentality, if not reinforced, and tested the faith of all who have been victimized.

While sports has long served as a part of the healing process after a long period of grieving, it can also serve as an olive branch.

Such an example was witnessed in Venice, Calif., the basketball Mecca of the west. People from all around the country and all around the world were gathered around the iconic blue courts to watch the 10-year anniversary of the Venice Basketball League, which featured NBA champions Glenn “Big Baby” Davis and Metta World Peace and dunk contest that made a little red corvette into a prop.

But it had a bigger purpose than simply free entertainment. The VBL players, children from Gordon’s basketball camp, and members of the Los Angeles Police Department gathered around together at the center of the court for a moment of silence, prayer, and “a declaration of peace,” before the games began.

DSC_0180“Peace is always the foundation,” said the artist formerly known as Ron Artest. “The fundamentals. No matter what we’ve been through. No matter how many people we’re down from in our hood. My brother did 10 years in jail for drug trafficking. My people in jail for life for murder. But at the same time, that’s not gonna change me. It’s all about that peace. We from the hood, I’m never gonna change, but at the same time, I don’t want to see anybody get harmed”

“We all come from a place of love and we all want to be loved, and I really think that’s what the key is to it,” Gordon said. “You can love whoever, the person next to you, whatever the skin color is, wherever they’re from, whatever they’ve been through, you can love them no matter what.”

One spectacular dunk made the 20-year-old Gordon a star and now he uses his stardom to promote a positive message to everyone in his vicinity.

“My message is coming from a place of genuine love and peace,” Gordon said. “The more that I can spread that, the better for me.


Arizona fans take in the dunk contest. Photo by Tony Capobianco

“Every single person, every single kid is capable and has potential to do whatever they want to in this world,” he said. “I chose basketball. Basketball chose me. It’s what I’m passionate about. I just want to try and light a fire under the kids and make them passionate about something. It doesn’t have to be about basketball, but I want them to be passionate about something. And if they follow that passion diligently, disciplined and persistently, then everything else will fall in line for them.”


About: Tony Capobianco


Sports Kave senior writer and podcast host

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