Personality Profile

Basketball great Reggie Tucker gives to kids in his hometown

By PATRICK MacCOON Sports Writer
Posted 8/11/17

As kids start back to school in Bradley County, several have bright smiles and are well prepared, thanks to Reggie Tucker and his crew.

Joined by family along with coaches and players from …

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Personality Profile

Basketball great Reggie Tucker gives to kids in his hometown

CLEVELAND BASKETBALL legend Reggie Tucker and the Blue Raiders high school hoops team gave back to the community by recentlyhanding out free backpacks and school supplies.
CLEVELAND BASKETBALL legend Reggie Tucker and the Blue Raiders high school hoops team gave back to the community by recentlyhanding out free backpacks and school supplies.
Banner photo, PATRICK MacCOON
Posted

As kids start back to school in Bradley County, several have bright smiles and are well prepared, thanks to Reggie Tucker and his crew.

Joined by family along with coaches and players from Cleveland High School, the former LSU and overseas professional basketball player continued to give back to the local community.

On the same block he grew up on, Davis’ fifth annual Back-2-School backpack giveaway was a hit Wednesday evening. Over 100 kids (ages 3-16) came to the corner of 1st Street and Shepard Street as they stockpiled essentials for the upcoming school year.

“To see families come over here and be a part of this makes me very thankful,” said Tucker, who is an assistant high school basketball coach for the Blue Raiders and a 1993 CHS graduate. “Seeing the kids smile means the world. I am very grateful to be a part of this community.”

Since moving back to Cleveland in 2010 from Orlando, Fla., the well-respected AAU and prep basketball coach has been set on making a difference.

“Being a part of an event like this raises the bar even for me as a head coach, because you are representing the Reggie Tuckers of the world,” said CHS head basketball coach Jason McCowan. “For him to give back to the community he grew up in and played in is very special. You can tell how much he really cares about people.”

Each boy and girl who walked away with a brand-new backpack filled with pencils, scissors, glue, erasers, notebooks and paper, to go along with a full stomach after eating hot dogs made by CHS assistant coach Chuck Condo, was a life impacted.

“My mom has always been a giver and taught me to be one and think about others,” said Tucker, whose event was an outreach to children in need of school supplies. “Even when you feel like at times you don’t have anything to give, she always let me know there is someone out there doing worse than you.”

While in Orlando training NBA players and making his way up the coaching ranks, Tucker saw first hand the impact events such as his can have on the community. After watching mentors Darrell Armstrong (14-year NBA pro), Marquis Daniels (10 years in the NBA) and legend Vince Carter (eight-time NBA All-Star) change lives, Tucker has been focused on doing the same.

“This community has supported me ever since I was little, and this is a small token I can give back to where I am from,” he said. “It was always a dream of mine to come back and make an impact in Cleveland, beyond the basketball court.”

While the CHS basketball team may have won over quite a few hearts and gained some new fans in the crowd this season, Tucker and company were not out to simply grow their fan base.

“It’s about building the community,” he said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with CHS or any rival school. It’s about giving back to these kids no matter what school they go to. At the end of the day if we can help their first day or week of school get off on a good note, we’ve done something special.”

Joy surrounded the event as the Back-2-School backpack giveaway left an impact on the hearts of everyone involved.

“It’s great for our players to see the joy you can bring to a young kid’s life by just giving back,” Tucker said. “It’s not just about basketball or winning games, it’s about making an impact in other people’s lives. It’s really good for our players to be involved in the community.”

Tucker and company plan on having an impact for years to come, with no end in sight.

“I have a great supporting cast besides my family and friends,” Tucker said. “Smoothie King and Chick-fil-A really got involved to help us, along with Parks and Rec, who helped us out with backpacks. So many people made great donations as well. I put it in motion and others really helped step up and do their part.”

Positive role models are needed in every community, and Cleveland has quite a handful.

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