NBA star Hardaway helps kids beat streets - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

NBA star Hardaway helps kids beat streets

(WMC-TV) - One week after a Memphis High school student was shot and killed outside a basketball game, an NBA star who survived the city's tough streets describes how he made it.

One week ago, a 17-year-old was shot and killed near Central High school after a basketball game. It's just one of the most recent tragedies involving young people. But many who grew up Memphis are working to fix it, including the biggest basketball star to come out of the Bluff City.

For more than a decade, Penny Hardaway has been a role model for young boys growing up on the same Memphis streets he grew up on. It's a role the former NBA all star embraces.

"We can't keep harping on what the negative is," he said. "We can try to help."

It's a battle. The streets are meaner now than when Penny had to navigate right and wrong, good and bad. He hears all about it from the kids he helps coach at Lester Middle School

"They are dealing with gangs," he said. "They are dealing with people selling drugs."

Penny admits he doesn't know the solution and said the problems will come as no surprise. The first problem Hardaway says is that the church doesn't have the same role in kids' lives as it did when he was young.

"Idle time and their minds, they start doing negative things," he said.

Even though he grew up in a single parent household, Hardaway also points to the changing family dynamic, saying kids have free reign. Mix that with high poverty and you have a toxic mix.

"A lot of these kids want fancy things, but they don't have money," he said. "So they want to rob, steal, hurt you for your money."

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