In today’s society, race issues continue to be a hot topic of discussion, especially within sports. Many professional athletes are doing everything they can to bring awareness to continued inequality seen graphically all over mainstream media. With many avenues to protest and spread awareness, Sacramento Kings teammates Garrett Temple and George Hill have decided to do much more than a simple protest.
Temple made a decision recently to hang out with some kids at Sacramento Charter High School. Right off the bat, the students asked about basketball for the most part. But, it didn’t take before some of the questions he was asked became pretty significant.
“What do you think about the Colin Kaepernick national anthem protest? How do you handle losing? How do you deal with adversity off the court?”
Those were just a few of the heavy-hitting queries Temple fielded.
“At first, they started asking about basketball,” Temple said according to The Undefeated. “But then they started asking great questions, life questions. It was a good start. I want everyone to know this is not a one-time thing. This is something I want to continue to grow, and I plan on building a relationship with that school and those athletes.”
Shortly after his visit, Temple decided he would adopt the school as his own. The school is predominantly black, with many Latino and mixed-race students. It is located in the Oak Park neighborhood, a tougher area in Sacramento. Temple plans to spend plenty of time there as well as donate financially.
“Sacramento High felt like a place that could really use some help. That is why I chose it,” Temple said.
He plans to be at several town hall meetings as well as being involved in school sports, hanging out at games and even speaking to players and teams.
“With Colin kneeling and other things going on bringing awareness to police brutality of that nature, I thought about things I can do to actually help,” Temple said. “The education gap in this country is something that is not talked about anymore because there are so many other problems. I read a statistic that said we may be more segregated in schools now than we were in 1954 because of the private schools. All the white kids are going to private schools, while the black kids are going to public schools that are very underserved. Education is important to me and my family. I wanted to try to help [make a] change.”
Hill also decided to do the same after learning of Temple’s efforts.He chose Encina Prepatory High School. Temple praised his teammate’s willingness to get involved.
“George is basically a humanitarian,” Temple said. “Every game there is a veteran [military] crew that he talks to and takes a picture with. He went to Haiti right after the earthquake. He is just a great guy.”
Knowing that his platform is more than just about playing basketball, Hill wanted to do everything he could to further Temple’s work.
“I have always been big on the community stuff, especially as crazy as the world is today,” Hill said. “More guys of our stature and more guys that are successful need to really try to give back and take some of these young men and women right underneath our wings and just guide them a little bit.”
Hill had a significant reason for choosing Encina Prepatory, as it is 37 percent Latino, 29 percent black, 21 percent white and 6 percent Asian, according to School-Ratings. Hill’s fiancée, Samantha Garcia, is Latina, and he is African-American. Some of his very top priorities right away are to speak to the students about his background, growing up in a rough neighborhood. Hill would also love to speak on leadership, hard work and chasing dreams.
“I’m more about being a better person than a better athlete,” Hill said. “I’m going to touch base on helping others. Not judging anyone over the cover of their book. Get to know people, respect others, respect your classmates, your teachers and your peers. Teach the fundamentals and get the love back in the world, because that is something that we are missing.”
Knowing what it’s like to have a big dream and work tirelessly, Hill’s background provides ground for one heck of a motivational speech. He played at a mid-major close to home called Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Hill chose the school because he could spend time with his grandfather who was close by, and unfortunately passed away before getting to see him play. He worked hard and became a fairly household name amongst college players. Hill was eventually drafted a decade ago in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs.
“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” Hill said. “Believe. Hard work pays off. I wasn’t one of the nation’s top players coming out of high school. Everything we had to do had to be earned. It wasn’t given to us. With some of this new generation, people give them so much that when they have to go on their own, they are misguided. They don’t know how to work for it.
“I’m trying to touch a different audience saying, ‘You have to work for what you get. Don’t expect nothing. Have fun doing it.’ But at the same time, you being a better person on and off your sports life is the biggest thing that we want them to contribute to.”
Temple played his college ball at LSU where he shared the court with teammates such as Glen Davis, Brandon Bass and Tyrus Thomas. Eight years after going undrafted, Temple is the only player from that class to still have an NBA contract. One may say it is no surprise that Temple credits his faith for everything he has achieved to this date.
“I credit a lot of [my success] to my faith in Christ and my ability to withstand things,” Temple said. “There have been times where I’ve been cut. Things have happened when there has been really no explanation for them. I just trust in the Lord, and everything happens for a reason.”