Houston, TX

How a Former Houston Rocket is Giving Back to His Hometown

Genius Turner

James Harden and Remi Yusuf pictured serving youth at the 9th Wonder Foundation.(Remi Yusuf/ninthwonder.org)

Local hoops legend gives back to H-Town

Houston, TX — Oprah once recalled a teachable moment shared with her mentor, Dr. Maya Angelou. While making biscuits, Oprah suggested opening a school in South Africa "will be my legacy."

Angelou sighed and shook her head. "You have no idea what your legacy will be," she explained. "Your legacy is every life you’ve touched."

Recently when I caught up with my old teammate, Remi Yusuf, I mentioned his legacy will be defined by playing professionally for our hometown team. After all, he was the only player from our team that made it all the way to the NBA. But to my surprise, Yusuf saw things differently.

"No way," Yusuf said, in a calm voice. "My lasting legacy is my 9th Wonder Foundation." He smiled. "There's nothing I love more than offering a child Hope ... teaching a child Perseverance ... and instilling in a child Confidence."

The acronym "HPC" strikes at the very heart of Yusuf's mission. And by giving the youth a solid foundation, he's also giving double meaning to his very own foundation.

I was especially impressed, pardon, inspired by Yusuf's 4th Annual Super Elite Basketball Clinic For Autism and Special Needs.

Show me someone helping people who can't help back and I'll show you true greatness!

Perhaps there's something to Yusuf's being born three days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and just a day after Muhammad Ali. Perhaps a birthday says more about someone than a mere day of birth...

...Perhaps what inspires me most about my old teammate is this: he proves why obstacles merely reveal whether or not we're doing something mainly for money.

In Yusuf's case, not only has he donated his own time, energy and money, but he also donates brain power. After all, this coming Saturday, Yusuf's foundation is hosting a special benefit for underprivileged youth and children with autism.

In short, with all things considered: I now understand why a former Houston Rocket considers serving his community an even higher goal than dunking on a basketball goal.

For more info on Saturday's benefit, visit: go.rallyup.com

*All proceeds go to assisting underprivileged youth, children with autism and special needs programs.

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