HUNTSVILLE — Russell Biven’s message to young basketball players at Scott High School Monday morning: Live for others before yourself.
“If we’re not living for other people, we’re not living,” the former television personality told the dozens of youth assembled for the first day of Scott High’s Basketball Skills Camp. “Work hard today. Treat somebody good today that you don’t even know. Encourage somebody today that you don’t even know.”
Biven was the featured speaker for the annual skills camp, which began with younger grades Monday morning and was to have transitioned to older graders in the afternoon. He recently retired from WBIR TV in Knoxville and is engaged as a motivational speaker.
A basketball coach himself, Biven is somewhat connected to Scott High in that he coaches Highlander senior point guard Trey Morrow on the AAU circuit.
Biven told the campers at Scott High that there are three things basketball does: it is a positive sport that keeps kids away from negative things, it forces you to get better, and it teaches teamwork.
Biven called Chicago Bull great Michael Jordan the best basketball player who has ever played the game.
“Do you know what Michael Jordan did every summer?” he asked. “He picked one skill (to focus on). Maybe one summer he said, ‘I’m gonna get better with my left hand.’ And the next summer he said, ‘I’m gonna get tougher and be more physical.’ And the summer after that he worked on his turn-around jump shot.
“If you want to improve and have the most fun you can have in basketball, you have to get better,” Biven said.
Biven pointed to Morrow as an example of teamwork in basketball.
“Trey is on my team with players from all over,” he said. “We have one player from Puerto Rico. We have players of different colors. We have players from different schools. And they all play together as a team.”
The Highlander skills camp will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday before disbanding. Players in grades 6-8 will register for camp beginning at noon on Monday, before beginning their first session at 1 p.m. The cost is $60 per camper, which includes a t-shirt. There are discounts available for multiple campers from the same household.