For the fourth summer in a row, Brooklyn Nets Hamptons Basketball Camp Powered by DRIBBL is returning to Southampton Town Recreation Center, with a few special guests.
From Monday, August 28 through Friday, September 1, campers will have the chance to meet and practice with Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson and Nets player Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who also participated in last year’s camp.
We recently caught up with Hollis-Jefferson about his goals for this season, dreaming big, and more.
“I’m looking forward to the camp,” Hollis-Jefferson told Hamptons.com. “I can’t wait.”
This will be your second year returning to the Brooklyn Nets Hamptons Basketball Camp Powered by DRIBBL. What’s it like working with the campers?
RHJ: It’s great. The first year was wonderful. The kids had a lot of fun, they enjoyed themselves, and I feel like it’s about giving them a memorable experience – being able to be there, make them laugh, teach them some things – those are the moments that kids remember for a lifetime, so I just look forward to doing that.
Do you have a moment from last year’s camp that stands out?
RHJ: The kids had good spirits and such great energy. As an adult, you try to build from that whether a kid is down or super excited, you want to build it up and make it even stronger or make them feel better. So, when I came in the energy that they gave me was really good and I gave it back. It was just great to be a part of.
Did you have any time to explore the Hamptons during the camp, and if so, what were some of your favorite places?
RHJ: Every time I’ve been to the Hamptons it’s just been for the camp. I stayed at the house for the most part. I went to Brent’s, the deli, but other than that it was home cooked food.
At what age did you get into basketball?
RHJ: I started playing organized basketball when I was five.
What players inspired you growing up?
RHJ: The obvious like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett. At five, these are the young guys coming up, but they’re also highly touted, well known.
You recently went to Africa for the NBA Africa Game 2017. Tell me a little bit about that experience.
RHJ: It was great to be able to go there and see the different culture and the dynamic of how they live. It kind of sucks you into a different reality because we complain about so much, America, and the struggles that we’ve been through – I know that they’re our struggles so we have to endure them in a way that we’re capable of but, I feel like once you see other people’s struggles, it kind of puts you in a whole different realm. Like, man I went through a lot, but they are really going through some things. It was great and it was humbling and it was all of the above for me to experience that. And the kids, the one thing I will say about the kids, no matter how hard times were for them personally, when they came to play basketball they had so much fun.
With basketball season nearing, how does your preparation change?
RHJ: You gotta grow up. Even in college you have a little pass because you have somebody always there telling you what to do. You gotta be here, you gotta be there. Once you get to the pros, it’s like you’re on your own, in a way. You still have structure, but it’s a different type of structure as far as you’re being penalized in a different way. In college, you might have to run or do a Stairmaster, but in the NBA, you get fined or penalized for being late. All these things that are different that in a way all correlate – they’re grooming you to be a man – but, the severity of the penalty weighs on you more. In adulthood, taking away money from someone is cutting into your family. You definitely have to grow up mentally, physically, in every way.
For those aspiring to play a sport professionally, what advice would you give them?
RHJ: To any person trying to play professionally, dream big. Sometimes people are afraid to step outside of their comfort zone, outside of their realm of what they know. Sometimes we’re afraid to break a habit because we’ve done it for so long and it’s worked for us. But then when that moment comes and you hit a standstill, you’re like what’s next? Do I revert to what I’ve been doing? Only to see it’s not working anymore or progressing, I think that’s where don’t be afraid to dream big comes in and conquer that next accomplishment and have that mindset that nothing will stop you. I feel like even if you come up short on the professional end of basketball or a sport, you’ll still be amongst successful people. I feel like that’s where life gives you good lemons, as far as you hanging around people that have mindsets that are the same as yours. You want to be a successful businessperson, you want to be a successful athlete, well, hang around those types of people and the outcome will start to benefit you.
Speaking of dreaming big, what are some of your goals for this season?
RHJ: Definitely to improve as a player, individually and team wise, improve as a leader, and definitely to contribute as much as possible to help get the team to the playoffs.
For more information, visit www.nba.com.