Before he was a 14 year NBA veteran, Ricky Davis was just a kid from the inner city of Chicago with high hopes for one day breaking into The Association. On his way to eventually achieving those dreams, Ricky was met with obstacle after obstacle. Whether it was times his community and family would go without basic essential needs or educational requirements neither him nor his family knew existed, sometimes the dreams of the NBA seemed hopeless. As we all know, Ricky overcame these obstructions and lived out his dream as a professional basketball player. It was through the rough times growing up and some key veteran guidance from his rookie days with the Charlotte Hornets that paved the way for formation of The Ricky Davis Legacy Foundation. Now using the platform he so rigorously worked for, Ricky Davis serves the youth and adults alike of many communities across the country with programs dedicated to education and providing basic resources to those less fortunate. The work they have done and continue to do is unbelievable however, the plans for the future may just change the world.
“When I first got to the league, I knew that not only did I have the opportunity, but a responsibility to do something using my platform to help struggling youth, families and communities as a whole. Luckily when I got drafted to Charlotte, we had veterans like Dell Curry, Anthony Mason and David Wesley as our mentors. They definitely pushed us in the right direction at every turn.” Davis ended up plying in 7 different cities during his 14 year NBA career, but with every new franchise, Ricky and his mission never changed. “The NBA always has their mandatory amount of community services we had to provide and it was great to get to connect to the community on the team level, but I always wanted to do more. Wherever I went, we did the best we could to provide education and basic necessities to the youth, families and communities that were impoverished or hit extremely hard by homelessness.” The Ricky Davis Legacy Foundation has essentially been a part of Ricky’s career every step of the way.
Whether it be handing out food to the homeless or reading to the children in local schools, Ricky Davis Legacy Foundation has stepped up in countless ways, especially for its now “home base” city of Houston, Texas. However, the foundation goes much more in depth than just simply appearances. There are 2 specific programs that Ricky is extremely proud of and is hoping to grow exponentially as time goes on. The “Collegiate Compass” program is one that Ricky Davis used his own experiences in high school in order to develop it. “There are so many things that high school students and athletes do not know when it comes to post-secondary education. It happened to me when I was looking to go to college. I didn’t know how to fill out a FAFSA or that I needed to have a certain amount of pre-requisites done. There are kids who are incredibly gifted that end up going to a D3 school just because they had no idea what was required of them.” However, it’s not just the students and student athletes that need guidance. “We put an incredible amount of pressure on the kids, but parents, teachers, coaches they need the guidance too, A lot of the time they are unaware of the requirements as well and through this program we educate and support all of them to make it the most accurate and complete process as possible.” The other program is relatively new and one that is meant to and certainly will grow into something far larger. “We recently had over 50 computers donated and what we aim to do is have it set up to where kids, adults, whoever can come and take different courses in one environment. We are hunting down this one building where we can offer automotive, finance, media, coding, and even beauty classes. We want to teach kids trades again. Sometimes kids cannot get into college or it just does not interest them. We certainly can change that by offering these courses. FREE courses!”
The Covid-19 pandemic threw the world to a grinding halt but, that did not stop the work at The Ricky Davis Legacy Foundation. “As soon as the pandemic hit, we hit the streets. It seems like the inner cities and the homeless were almost forgotten because of the chaos. I personally went out there to hand out food and other essentials to as many as we possibly could along with my team. We are talking about every day needs. Food yes, but also paper towels, pampers, toilet paper, soap, literally anything. That is what we talk about when we mention donations. Obviously we couldn’t do what we do without financial support but being out there first hand and seeing the joy that our support brought to these families by just providing the essentials, we will take any type of donation because we know the true impact it has.” Building on this idea, Ricky and his team brought together other juggernauts of the music and sports world to put together the “Feed Your City Challenge”. Together they traveled to different cities around the country and from sun up to sun down were out there for their community. From food to PPE and sanitizers, the challenge was a tremendous success and actually turned out to be quite the party, one that Ricky will never forget. “There is no words to describe how it feels to witness that kind of comraderie within the community. It was a great time. To be out there and be a beacon of hope during such a hard time for so many was truly a blessing.”
The Ricky Davis Legacy Foundation has quite the plans for the future as mentioned earlier. “Moving forward, our goal and lifelong dream of mine, is to turn the small program we just started with courses and build it into an entire academy. K-12 full classes and rather than have the same old standards for our students, we want them to excel and smash through their ceilings. Every dream they have, every goal set, we want to see anyone who comes through our doors achieve it and more.” With Ricky Davis, it all comes down to one word, legacy. “ I have been given a platform that I know I can use to change the world for the better. I’ve decided to invest in the future and ultimately leave the world a better place.” If the work done by the foundation and Davis are any indication of how things are going to go, then there is no doubt that just like he wants for the kids who he mentors, they will have no problem smashing their goals.