JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Kenneth Council fell in love with the game of basketball around age 12 while playing at a city park on Jacksonville’s Northside.
“This rim was one of the rims I got my first dunk on. This park has a lot of memories,” he said of Eartha H. Napoleon Park.
He went on to play at North Florida Educational Institute and the University of Rio Grande in Ohio.
Last September, he got the opportunity to play professionally for Eset Ontinet, a team in Spain.
“A lot of guys inspired me to chase what I’ve been chasing and where I’ve gotten, I can attribute that to a couple people,” he said.
Council said during his time abroad, he’s kept up with news in Jacksonville, including the violence affecting youth.
“It’s always something pertaining to youth being in a situation where a mother loses their child or a child loses their parent, and it’s heartbreaking, you know?”
Back in Jacksonville for the summer, Council now wants to give back to the community where he got his start.
He’s hosting a free basketball skills camp for girls and boys ages 9 to 14 June 11 at North Florida Educational Institute.
“Through God’s grace, I was put into a situation where I didn’t get put in too many situations where I was in any danger. Once I found a basketball, it kept me near a gym, and that was my safe haven,” he said.
“Just to teach one kid the game of basketball and make them fall in love, you never know, could keep a kid off the streets,” he said.
He says any child from any part of town can sign up. It’s his way of being part of positive change in Jacksonville.
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