Ten minutes after Maywood natives Sterling and Shannon Brown concluded their four-day youth basketball clinic in the Panthers’ field house, Shannon was greeted by a member of the community. On the brink of tears, he told Shannon that Maywood’s youth doesn’t always have safe spaces to rely on — a sentiment that hit home with the eldest Brown brother.
“For some of these parents, their kids don’t have anything or activities to go to,” said Shannon. “Us doing this at least gives them something where they can interact with other kids and learn how to play a sport they really enjoy.”
In December 2018, Shannon and Sterling created, “The Brown Brothers SALUTE Foundation” which is dedicated to providing low-income neighborhoods much needed resources for their communities’ youth.
This year, the foundation teamed up with PTHS District 209 to host a skills clinic from Dec. 26-29 for kids from fifth through 12th grade. Outside of being able to have a place to play the game they love, the participants got a chance to talk with the Brown brothers who both have NBA experience.
Shannon played in the NBA from 2006-2015 and won two championships with the Lakers. Sterling is a current member of the Milwaukee Bucks and is in his third year in the league (he missed the first three days of the clinic due to games versus the Hawks and Magic on Dec. 26 and 27).
Having gone through similar camps when they were growing up in Maywood, the Browns understand what it means to young people to have the attention of NBA players.
“I remember going to Michael Finley’s and Tim Hardaway’s basketball camps and guys would come around and interact with us,” said Shannon. “They shook our hands, talking to us, bringing in guys like Ray Allen and Jamal Crawford. It’s huge that [the kids] get to feel the same thing because I know for me personally, they gave us hope.”
According to the event’s flier, the camp emphasized discipline and honing the fundamentals of the game which is something Shannon believes today’s players have waned from. Throughout their time at the camp, the kids went through conditioning and dribbling drills and cycled through 5-on-5 games using the concepts the instructors showed them.
“We really tried to focus on skill work,” said Shannon. “You look at some of the basketball players now, they don’t necessarily have the skill that it takes to continue to go to the next level. With little kids, you start teaching them how to dribble properly, make a proper pass, getting a rebound, making a proper outlet pass…those little things make a huge difference when you talk about winning.”
The Browns hope to continue their partnership with PTHS District 209 into the future with more events like this. For right now, it appears that there will be another clinic next year barring any changes.
In a statement to Forest Park Review, Cynthia Moreno, Director of Community Outreach and Public Relations, said, “We look forward to working with the Brown Brothers SALUTE Foundation in enhancing the Proviso experience for all students.”