LANSING, MI. (WILX) -- Before Denzel Valentine was a star for the Chicago Bulls and Michigan State Spartans, he was just another kid from Lansing with a dream of making it to the NBA.
In mid-August, most professional basketball players are preparing for the upcoming season, but a former Spartan who's made it big is back home, helping Lansing’s future stars realize their dream.
"I remember sitting in these same seats as a young’un, coming to camps, and listening to former athletes and Michigan State players,” Valentine said.
Now, four years into his professional career, he's doing his part to help Lansing’s youth realize their dreams with his first basketball camp.
"It’s something that I wanted to do to give back to my community, show my faith, show them that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and work hard."
The lesson plan? Dribbling, and shooting – fundamentals on the court, and life lessons off the court.
Each camp participant takes home a shirt, a basketball and a backpack, but the life lessons they bring home with them are what are most valuable.
"Listening, working hard, staying disciplined."
All things Valentine says he learned from his father.
"Without my dad this wouldn't be possible," he said. "Behind the scenes, he's been putting everything together...he's running the camp."
"It's the little things like giving back, being a good person, and doing the things that matter," his father, Carlton, said.
Together, they're shaping Lansing’s future.
"They’re trusting adults to guide and direct them into the right situations in their lives...its super important," said Carlton.
"You never know the impact you can have on a kid," said Valentine, "so I’m just very fortunate and blessed to be in the position I’m in to help these kids out.”