Jamal Crawford doesn't need a GPS to find his way.
"There is no place like home," says the 37-year-old, who has lived an arguably nomadic NBA life.
He's about to enter his 18th season in the league, a rare feat in terms of longevity, in a career which has taken him across the country. The three-time NBA 6th Man of the Year will suit up for Minnesota this fall.
But every summer, the Rainier Beach grad has lived in Seattle in the off-season, not far from the lakefront home he once gazed at from the doors of the high school.
He was back in the school gym this week, on the court bearing his name, hosting a camp he paid for. More than 200 kids were part of the "Community Giveback" basketball clinic. Crawford just asked for the campers to donate a new or lightly used pair of shoes in order to attend.
"As a kid, that's the first thing you notice," said Crawford, who said childhood friends weren't fortunate enough to have decent shoes. "It gives you confidence, a certain confidence obviously you have them on more than anything else - you can wear shoes any day of the week and shoe on my feet have taken me around the world."
Crawford's mother, Venora, says she was pushing her son put on the clinic.
"The most important mission was to give back to the community, not charge anything, and helps the kids develop, consistency, confidence."
It's a family affair, with Venora on site and Jamal's sisters Lisa and Lori helping to deliver water and facilitate camper needs. Lisa and Lori helped raise Jamal.
Lori says it's just another example of her brother's character.
"Everything he does to give back, he does it for the 206."
Erica Davis would even include the 509. She brought her son Jadan over to participate in the camp.
"There are a lot of underprivileged children that could use a pair of shoes," she said about the event. "(It) gives the kids something to do in the summer, something positive."
She also said, after watching Crawford interact with the kids, which ranged in age and gender, how important that was for her teenage son.
"Hard work and determination are going to determine his destination where he's going to go. This is encouragement to him, as an African American male, that you can do something positive."
Crawford has made it a habit of paying for similar events. He's funded a summer pro-am at Seattle Pacific University for years now, attracting some of the top talent in the area, along with his NBA friends. This year, he made it free to attend.
He's also routinely paid for a 4th of July barbecue and clothing giveaway and donated food.
Those shoes from this camp aren't going to last long. They're being included in a backpack giveaway at Liberty Park in Renton, another of his philanthropic efforts.
So why continue to do this year after year, when most NBA players are spending time doing other things?
"Me and my wife, helps me as a lot as well, she does a good job balancing me and identifying things we need to focus on," he said. "Seeing these kids - and what they're going through, how they're surviving and thriving, is very inspiring."
"We're just trying to do the best we can do," Crawford says. "Home is where the heart is, and for me, I feel like I owe Seattle everything."
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