It may be hard to believe that a 6 ft. 2 in., 190-pound basketball star, the likes of Harlem Globetrotter’s Dizzy Grant, could ever be bullied.
But he told of an incident in his childhood, where that was the case.
The Indianapolis point guard shared his personal experience with a gymnasium full of kids at Meadowridge School Tuesday, as part of an anti-bullying presentation.
“I can remember when I was in second grade, I came home from school crying one time because I was being bullied,” said from the celebrity basketball player.
“But what bothered me the most was that my friends just sat around and none of them had compassion for me. None of them stood up for me. None of them put themselves in my shoes, when I was being picked on and maybe could stand up for myself,” Grant recounted.
The iconic basketball team, celebrating its 87th year, announced a new community outreach program in December called the ABCs of Bullying Prevention.
It’s been developed to discourage bullying, increase empathy among youth, and give kids, teachers, and administrators the means to tackle this growing issue in society.
The program is offered in coordination with the National Campaign to Stop Violence, and focuses on action, bravery, and compassion as the core values in the ABCs of Bullying Prevention.
Grant pulled three children from the bleachers to represent those ABCs, engaged the kids who joined him on the court – as well as those in the audience – with personal stories, the team’s signature ball-handling skills, some humour, and – of course – his more serious anti-bullying message.
“If you’re being bullied, or you see someone else being bullied… the correct thing to do is to tell an adult or go tell a teacher,” he reiterated during the morning assembly.
The ABCs of Bullying Prevention target kids ages six to 12 and involves Globetrotters like Grant in helping to reduce bullying by being a positive role model and by delivering a message that violence will not be tolerated.
He and other members of the team also equate what it means to be part of a team to how kids can offer support to one another to help stop bullying.
Elementary principal Terry Jung felt the message was well received by his students, and was excited – despite short notice – to host the legendary basketball player on the Gryphon court this week.
The Harlem Globetrotters are in town ahead of next week’s performance at the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre.
While a large contingent of the school’s students and their family attending the Globetrotters’ performance on Feb. 15, Jung said there are others who – for various reasons – won’t be able to attend. But now, “thanks to Dizzy” they can still feel like they were part of the experience.