Strong in Character and Name

December 19th, 2014 | By Gary No Comments


At a time when the news is filled with stories of professional athletes who are abusing drugs, cheating, breaking laws and just behaving badly, we start to question if they are the best role models for kids. The problem is that we just hear about the few bad ones. We seldom hear about the many outstanding current and former professional athletes who are giving back in their communities and inspiring kids and adults alike. In the greater Athens area, Carlos Strong is just that kind of person.

After playing professional basketball in the NBA and for numerous teams around the world, Carlos has returned to Athens, where he was born and raised by his single mother … the place where his mother and coaches helped him lay the foundation for his career. Under their guidance and support, he learned how to stay focused on his school work and stay out of trouble so he could have fun playing the sport he loved. When he graduated from Cedar Shoals High School, he was the number three college recruit in the country and had played on the All-American Team with Jason Kidd and others. Although he could have gone to any school in the country, Carlos decided to stand by his Dawgs and play for UGA before turning pro.

Retired from professional basketball, Carlos has found his way back to Athens because he wants to give back in the community that he came from, and his focus is on kids. He explains, “Basketball is a sport that you may not go far with, but it’s great exercise and gets kids out of the house. Some kids really want to play but don’t have the guidance to get better. I just want to be a part of working with kids and making a difference. I feel that basketball has given me an avenue to reach kids. They look at me and because I played in the NBA, they listen to me a little more. It gets their attention and then it’s my job to focus that and deliver a good message to them. I want them to understand that no matter how good you are on the court, you can’t make it without school and without character. I wasn’t necessarily the best basketball player in Athens, but I did things the right way.

“There were kids better than I was, but they went down the wrong road and that’s the message I am trying to give to kids.”

As director of Carlos Strong’s Basketball Camps and Clinics, Carlos has begun to build a nonprofit organization that will help him amplify his message and reach kids of all ages and abilities throughout the greater Athens area. Currently, he is volunteering his time to coach and mentor kids through the YMCA, YWCO, and Oglethorpe County Schools. Carlos is working with organizations like ESP (Extra Special People) to conduct basketball clinics for people with disabilities. These annual clinics will be held in conjunction with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in November.

We are inspired by Carlos Strong and encourage you to visit his website,, to find out how you can work with Carlos and support his organization and mission to make a difference in the lives of kids in our community.

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