Who is Chris Clemons?
You can click on his name and read his wikipedia for the many accolades but just to share a few..
Chris is a professional basketball player. His senior year in high school he broke the record for points in a single game with 41 in a playoff match. In college as a member of the Campbell University Fighting Camels he became 3rd all time in NCAA Division 1 history with 3,225 and averaged 30.1 points per game his final year. In 2019 the Houston Rockets signed him to their roster making him the first and only player from Millbrook High School to play in the NBA.
When I met Chris Clemons he was about 5'7 and a junior in high school. I was a new assistant coach to Millbrook and didn't know any of the players. The first time I saw Chris he looked like a middle school kid but he was shooting around in the gym before practice and all his shots were well behind the 3 point line. He looked like he was shooting them with ease and all the shots either went in or were very close to going in.
As if seeing a 5'7 high school junior shoot NBA length 3's wasn't enough, eventually I saw him and his brother Carlee dunking like they were in an NBA All Star contest. Clearly the genetics this young man was blessed with are upper echelon. To add on top of all this talent, Chris was a quiet, humble, intelligent, hard working young man. So prior to any of the accolades that were mentioned in the first paragraph it was clear he was destined to be great.
In 2020 after he finished the season in the NBA Bubble, he returned to Raleigh for a few weeks. During that time he and I, along with Millbrook's head coach Chris Davis went to the studio one night to record a song I wrote titled "2 Minute Warning" and we filmed the video right after recording the song. In the song I rapped "The road to riches is paved but it's still ditches and puddles" which later became the line that Chris Clemons quoted in a text message to me after tearing his achilles in an NBA preseason game.
There was never a doubt in my mind that with his genetics and work ethic, that he wouldn't be able to bounce back from this injury. He's still in the process of returning to 100% and I can only tell you that I've seen it and its happening. However, the most important thing for me when it comes to Chris isn't associated with basketball.
After hanging out with him in Houston this past weekend along with Chris Davis and Julius McKinley who also was an assistant coach for Millbrook when Chris played, the pride that I have in seeing this young man grow has been upgraded to a new level. The calm demeanor, the well calculated steps, the intelligent observations, and all the things I saw in him as a high school kid have all manifested into him as a young adult. Even with successes and set backs, his focus is razor sharp and locked in on the goals that are soon to be reached, God willing.
So if you didn't know who Chris Clemons was before reading this, do you know now? Do you think he's just a basketball player or just a gifted athlete with some awards? Do you know that it was a conversation with him and his resources that helped the Rise clothing brand become the success that it has? No?
Well, this is just my perspective and there are many others that would agree. Chris Clemons is inspiration. Even when you're blessed and gifted you'll still have obstacles to overcome. No matter what set backs you have in front of you, you can still make it to your goals. This blog isn't long enough to share all the stories of inspiration but hopefully it's enough to spark a fire that can burn motivation into us all.
Click here to watch the interview with Chris Clemons & Rise Rashid with Houston Rockets Sideline reporter Cayleigh Griffin.
To be continued...