Reporting Jessica Kartalija
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — NBA star Rudy Gay is back home in Charm City.
Jessica Kartalija reports he’s here to talk about bullying.
Students at Frederick Elementary School prepared for the arrival of the NBA star by blowing up balloons and attaching them to a giant “Welcome” sign.
The Memphis Grizzlies player arrived at the school just after 1 p.m. Wednesday and students couldn’t have been more thrilled.
Gay, who grew up near Turner Station in Baltimore County, started playing competitive basketball when he was 12 years old. Now his message is about putting an end to bullying.
“My take on bullying has always been, `Don’t treat anyone who you wouldn’t want to be treated,’” Gay said.
“They listen to athletes much more than they listen to us,” said Joe Leonard, principal at Samuel Morris Elementary. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Students had the chance to ask Gay questions about his life on and off the hard wood.
“He talked to us about bullying and how it’s not good to do it,” said student Darryl Washington. “It meant something to me and I think it meant something to other people, too.”
The students also had a chance to shoot hoops with their favorite player.
“Bullying is a problem that’s growing around this area so it was good for me to come back to talk to them,” Gay said.
“He’s a leader so he’s going to set the example for the kids,” said Amanda Rice, principal at George Washington Elementary. “He’s going to let us know what they need to do to make the right decisions.”
Gay played for the University of Connecticut before turning pro. He signed a five-year, $84 million contract with the Grizzlies in 2010.
Gay attended Eastern Technical High School before transferring to Archbishop Spalding.