When the San Antonio Spurs selected Lonnie Walker IV from Miami with the 18th pick in this year’s draft, they knew they were getting a good player. What they didn’t know was that the rookie was doing even better things off of the court.
Walker, a native of Reading, PA, signed a deal with Adidas and then arranged to donate 300 pairs of sneakers to Reading’s Blacktop Basketball League in his hometown. Partnering up with Adidas executive and Reading native Eric Wise, the two decided to give the rookie his first assist on the blacktop and not the hardwood.
“What Adidas and Lonnie are doing, it’s amazing,” declared Blacktop’s executive director, Veronica Brown. “It’s awesome.”
It’s an awesome gesture that was a few years in the making as Wise watched Walker become a star for the Reading Red Knights, leading them to their first state title in 2017. He continued watching him during his one year at Miami and then convinced Adidas, who he worked for, to sign the talented freshman before the draft.
“It’s a cool thing to have an executive at Adidas like myself and Lonnie be an Adidas athlete, and both of us from Reading,” said Wise, a football and basketball player from Reading High who graduated in 1996. “I would love to use this to show kids that there are multiple ways to be successful in and outside sports.”
Best Of Lonnie Walker | 2018 MGM Resorts Summer League
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Walker continues to be an inspiration to kids in his hometown and he plans to donate some of the shoes to Reading’s KTB youth program and the high school boys and girls programs.
“I’m sure the kids will be overwhelmed,” Brown said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the reaction of the kids when they do receive them. To see the expressions will be priceless.
“The bottom line is making a kid happy.”
But he’s doing more than that. Walker is making an entire city happy with his selfless act. These are the athletes we need more of.