Bahamian and National Basketball Association (NBA) center DeAndre Ayton was in Nassau to give back to the youth through a substantial monetary donation to the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development on Thursday, June 13 at Fusion Superplex on Gladstone Road.
The Phoenix Suns player donated $10,000 to help the ministry carry out its work in developing young people.
After making the donation, he gave out gifts to children who excelled in the classroom throughout the year.
While there, Ayton personally autographed shirts for some of the children. It included their name.
He also spent some time in the arcade with the children, playing and interacting with them.
The big man fielded questions from the media and explained why he made the donation.
“I was in their position once and I can actually vouch for that. It was just how guys came back to The Bahamas and gave back like Klay Thompson – just guys came back, starting with camps and participating with us and just saying hi and being in the presence around us can inspire us. I am just trying to be a great example and represent The Bahamas the best way I can,” Ayton said.
The NBA’s Rookie of the Year candidate told the children that they have to be disciplined and always have faith.
“Growing up, I always had a lot of people on my tail about doing the right thing. A lot of kids are fortunate to be told to do the right thing. I was always disciplined and I know someone was always watching so I brought my ‘A’ game. It was a pain and difficult. Time does not steal, slow down or stop for anything, when you see your progress you have to keep going. Always have faith in everything that you do and do not second guess,” Ayton said.
The 2018 number one NBA draft pick spoke about the transition from college to the NBA. He said the difference is the physicality and sometimes it means playing through an injury and figuring it out.
The double-double machine added that, as an NBA player, he has to stay healthy and find time to rest.
“Staying healthy is the main thing. You have to take care of the little things for longevity like icing everyday and you get tired of doing that. You are playing some tough games with back-to-backs and you are in a city for eight hours and you have to fly to another city the same night. There is barely any rest and you want as much rest as you can. You really get exposed when you are not taking care of your body and your performance goes down,” Ayton explained.
He hopes to adjust his eating schedule for next season.
He finished the season averaging 16.3 points and 10.3 points per contest in his rookie season. He was the only rookie to average a double-double last season. He shot a blistering 58.5 percent from the field.
The Suns finished last in the Western Conference of the NBA with a 19-63 win-loss record and missed the playoffs for the ninth straight season.