Like most kids his age, Edmonton teenager Anthony Muobike spent his afternoons dribbling around his neighborhood while pretending to knock down 30-foot buzzer-beaters like Steph Curry. But with no basketball hoop in his driveway, the 14-year-old’s hoop dreams often felt elusive. That is, until his neighbor, Ian Ray, took note of how dedicated he was to his craft and sprung into action.
“He’s a good kid,” Ray told Canada’s CTV News. “He’s always just doing his own thing. He’s never causing any trouble.”
On Aug. 15, Ray then posted in a local community Facebook group and asked if anyone could donate a hoop to the cause.
He was flooded with offers of both cash donations and basketball nets, and soon after, automotive retailer Canadian Tire stepped in and gifted Anthony with the basketball hoop he long desired. And to sweeten the pot, the cash donations went towards a $750 Sport Chek gift card so that Anthony could have everything he needs to thrive on the court.
“I didn’t expect it to blow up like it did,” Ray admitted. “But the north side is a pretty strong community.”
So how did Anthony react to such an amazing gift?
“I was absolutely surprised,” he told CTV News. “I thought when I came out here to dribble that ball it was making a racket and people would hate it. To find out, I don’t know how many, probably a lot, of people are believing in me and they give me this […] that really touches my heart.”
Ray surprised the family with his generosity earlier this week and it sounds like Anthony’s mother, Leticia Muobike, still can’t believe that her son has received such a tremendous blessing.
“I’m still trying to process it, I’m speechless,” she said. “Thank you so, so much to everyone who thought about this, who have helped in any way. He didn’t sleep last night because he was coming downstairs to check if the hoop was still there.”
As for Anthony, now that he has a hoop in the driveway, he has a singular goal in mind.
“You’ll see me out there, in the NBA,” he said. “That’s where you’ll find me.”
One person who can’t wait until his arrival is four-time NBA champ LeBron James.
“This is pure and beautiful,” LeBron wrote on Instagram. “That community is amazing. Nobody can fulfill their dreams alone. Anthony, keep working kid. You have another fan in me.”
It truly takes a village, and thankfully Anthony is surrounded by the type of love that so many of us crave. We at The Root wish Anthony all the best as he pursues his hoop dreams and hopefully, I have the privilege of one day writing about his exploits in the NBA.