Thursday, May 22, 2008

Donyell Marshall- NBA Veteran is a Helping Hand to Young Ballers

People don't always think of NBA players as nice guys these days, but the Seattle Superonics' 6'9 forward Donyell Marshall, a 14-year veteran and former second team All-Rookie choice, bucks that trend. The former UConn Husky runs Donyell Marshall Foundation (PA), a quality AAU basketball organization. Donyell's program participated in the Providence Jam Fest, and the NBA baller was there himself. He kindly took a few minutes of his time to chat with me after one of his team's games.

NB: What’s it like for you, coming out here and [being with your] . . . AAU team? There’s a lot of guys in your status who have a team named after them, but don’t actually show up at the games. What inspires you to actually go out and [be with the team]?
DM: Well, . . . I like to just sit back, . . . but I like being here. I think it gives the kids inspiration and they know that I’m not the one . . . just to put my name on it. I actually care about the kids. . . . One day, we always go out to eat. I talk to the kids and just let them know that I’m a normal person. I think it actually . . . inspires them. They hear about us not being good guys, or not being friendly and stuff like that, but for them to be able to just talk to me and see that I’m there cheering them on and giving them advice is always a good thing, knowing I’m not just putting my name on a jersey.

NB: What led you to get involved with AAU basketball?
DM: Well, I never had the chance to play AAU basketball. I didn’t really go to basketball camps when I was younger, either, and I just wanted to get these kids the opportunity to be able to do something that I was never able to do, and I think it really helps them out, especially where I’m from. It gives a lot of kids a chance to get and see different parts of the country that I know that they would never see [otherwise].

NB: What’s been the best moment of your basketball career?
DM: For me, obviously playing in the [NBA] Championship last year [with the Cleveland Cavaliers], but also with a lot of these kids, I have [had] kids on my team that are in the NBA now [such as] Royal Ivey, [who] is one guy to name that played on my team and is in the NBA now. So, . . . some of those things are the most important in my life, . . . the most fun part of my career.

NB: Do you still keep in contact with any of those guys, and if so, what do you talk to them about?
DM: When I see them I just ask them how they [are] doing. I’ve sent a lot of kids to college, and right now it’s just very difficult obviously, with my schedule and their schedule, but [when] I see them, I just ask them how they [are] doing, and keep wishing them well.

It is evident that Donyell Marshall is not in the AAU basketball business for money or publicity. Rather, the number four selection in the 1994 NBA draft is involved with grassroots hoops because he genuinely cares about the kids on his DMF teams. Marshall is a positive influence for the players to look up to, and is someone who can guide them along the right path on the hardwood. Donyell Marshall is truly one of the NBA's good guys.

Note- photo is from

Note- information on Marshall's career is from

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