For Grizzlies' guard Josh Selby, "Basketball Never Stops" is more than a NBA slogan. It's also a pattern of thought that he has incorporated into his personal life as he uses his talent in basketball to help others.
A native of Baltimore, Md., the 21-year-old Selby recently (July 27-29) hosted the first Josh Selby Weekend in his hometown. It came on the heels of Selby being named co-MVP of the 2012 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, sharing the title with Portland Trailblazer's Damian Lilliard.
"I was honored," Selby said of the co-MVP award. "It was a blessing to me. I go out and work hard every time I'm on the court."
For Selby, the self-titled weekend was about giving back to the community that helped shape him. Presented by the Josh Selby Foundation, the event raised money for an issue that is dear to Selby – Down syndrome. The weekend's activities included an unlimited bowing event, an awareness party titled "I Am My Brother's Keeper" and a two-on-two basketball tournament.
The weekend's proceeds benefited The Arc Baltimore, which is committed to providing advocacy and high quality, life-changing support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The Josh Selby Foundation also supports The National Down Syndrome Society, whose mission is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.
"It's a blessing being able to give back to the community," Selby told The New Tri-State Defender.
Selby draws inspiration from his uncle, Michael, 31, who was born with Down syndrome.
"When I get tired and I feel like giving up I look at Uncle Mike. who gets up and goes to work every day while having to deal with his sickness and I say to myself I must press on," Selby said.
He credits his mother, Maeshon Witherspoon, for most of his hard work and dedication in basketball and his commitment to philanthropic efforts.
Alongside Witherspoon, Selby founded the Josh Selby Foundation in October of 2011. The foundation's first event – a blanket drive for the homeless – helped collected more than 250 blankets that were donated to shelters in the Baltimore area. The following month, the foundation prepared and provided Thanksgiving dinner for a Baltimore homeless shelter for women.
Selby says he plans on collaborating with Arc of the Mid-South in Memphis next year.
Summer League standout
At the Summer League games, Selby (6-2, 183 lbs.) ranked third in scoring (24.2 points) while averaging 2.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.4 steals on .557 shooting in 27.4 minutes through all five league games.
The second-year pro shot .643 from three-point range, making at least five treys in four games and connecting on 27 of 42 total attempts from beyond the three-point struoe. Selby also shot .889 from the free throw line.
Selected by Memphis in the second round (No. 49 overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft, Selby reached 30-plus points twice, including a Summer League-high 35-point performance against Washington. Memphis finished Summer League play with a 2-3 record.