Kelechi Anuna’s shoe campaign began in the months during his stay in Nigeria while playing in the now-defunct African Basketball League.
Anuna intends to collect as many pairs of basketball shoes as he can get in the United States of America, via donations from people, and give to kids in Nigeria.
The 6’2 product of Middle Tennessee University and former member of the Nigeria Senior Men’s Basketball Team said he was moved with empathy when he came upon some kids playing basketball with worn-out shoes at the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
In a chat with Basketball Within Borders, Anuna shares details of how he was moved to provide basketball shoes to kids who could not afford them:
“The idea actually started last season when I came back home for the ABL and I went to the National Stadium Surulere. I saw the poor basketball shoes used by so many talented and potentially great young basketball players. I actually had a fairly used pair of shoes and some socks in my bag as I usually carry around and the younger kids begged me to let them have the pairs. I told them I would bring more as soon as I could when next my team (Stallions) came around for practice.
“Of course I didn’t bring enough shoes to [dash] all these kids as I did not even have enough to last myself during the season. But that was where my idea to have a shoe drive came from. Now that I plan playing in the Continental Basketball League, I decided this is the right time to start a campaign that would benefit these kids.
“I have an organization known as Young African Kingz (YAK), which I established with two of my close friends and which we will use to organize a camp alongside Mark Hill in Nigeria. My friends, Yoyo Gai (Sudan), Amar Benouda (Senegal), and me Kelechi (Nigeria) all come from big basketball countries in Africa and this is our way of giving back.
“Some of those who have contributed to the Shoe Drive include my trainer and skills coach Marcus Kinzer of Skill Wing Workouts, WACG (We All Can Go) Nike EYBL team owner Coach Carlos, who has about five Nigerian guys playing for him in the US currently, Javohn Firoul, basketball agent Steve Dolan, former MTSU Women’s basketball star Janay Brinkley, and many more.
“We have also set up a fundraiser for the basketball camp alongside the shoe drive where the players wouldn’t have to pay a dime, and they will be able to collect shoes, train, and have good nutritious meals during the camp.
You can make an impact in Kelechi Anuna’s Shoe Drive and Camp by following this link: https://www.gofundme.com/kelechi-anuna-annual-shoedrivecamp