Andy and former Clippers legend, Corey Maggette, share memories about his playing career and talk about his history of giving back to the community. Maggette was selected 13th overall in the first round of the 1999 NBA Draft, and played for Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, and Detroit Pistons in his fourteen-year career.
Maggette spent eight years with the Clippers and recalls the camaraderie and talent of the team’s 2007-08 year.
“Well, I gotta say about every one of those players man, they are good friends of mine still to this day,” Maggette said. “We had so much talent. We had a lot of talented individuals, like you say from the standpoint of characters, everyone has their own identity.”
Even as a player, Maggette was known for uplifting the community. During his second year in the NBA, Maggette founded the Flight 50 basketball Camp for youth in Chicago, near where he grew up.
“I got the idea first from Michael Finley, a great friend of mine, a great mentor I looked up to,” Maggette said. “I had my entire family in Chicago working, I gave them a chance to earn money. But more importantly, it was more about more about the kids in the community, because I knew the impact that it had.”
The first basketball camp drew over 400 participants, far surpassing the 50-person targeted enrollment. Maggette funded the first Flight 50 Basketball Camp himself but says that giving time can be more valuable than just donating money.
“What really prompted me was my parents and my grandfather, who was a minister at the time, and he always served the community. He will give his last to someone else. I really valued that humility that he showed. My sister-in-law and my wife, they really were big advocates of giving back. That kind of prompted me to do things like basketball camps,” Maggette said.
During his time with the Clippers, he also founded the “Uh Oh Maggette-O Kids” program which brought hundreds of local students to Clippers games for free.
“I think I’ve been blessed so much and I wouldn’t even feel right if I didn’t give back,” Maggette said. “I think it’s part of my DNA, trying to advocate to give back to our communities, trying to be an advocate to try to walk in character and integrity. So that’s been that’s kind of been my motto this entire time.”
In addition to giving back, Magette spends his post-NBA days as a broadcaster for Fox Sports West. Maggette made the transition from the court to broadcasting alongside Ralph Lawler, the 41-year Hall of Fame voice of the Clippers, who he considers a mentor.
“I call [Ralph] a mentor in the broadcast industry, but more importantly a friend. I look to Ralph as almost a grandfather,” Maggette said. “He will hold you accountable and even when I’m on air if I’m saying things that might not be right he’s just trying to give me constructive criticism…he’s the one that has given me more drive to be a better analyst on TV.”
“I admire that about Ralph to be able to not only step outside of himself to help me, but to put me in a position to be successful after the game of basketball. I really admire him for even taking those steps to help me be the better, a better analyst but, more importantly, he was such a good friend, a person I can talk to to this day.”
Lawler also gave high praise to Maggette, “He is just a lovey man. I enjoyed our time together when he played with the Clippers, but really came appreciate what a quality individual he was as he entered our broadcast fraternity. He is a good color commentator, he was a terrific player and he is an even better, husband, father and friend. Jo and I love him to death!”
Finally, Maggette shares a few memories of the late Kobe Bryant, with whom he shared an agent.
“For me, he was one of the guys that you modeled your game after a lot of players in the NBA, but I had a really great connection because, you know, I knew this guy,” Maggette said.
Maggette recalls getting a FaceTime call from Kobe minutes before the Mamba swam with great white sharks. Magette says Kobe and their agent, Rob Pelinka, swam with sharks to conquer their fears.
“His model was the reason I’m swimming with great white sharks [is] I want to have no fear. And when I play the game of basketball, whatever I do, I want to have no fear. And for me to have this, I’m going to swim with great white sharks.” Maggette added, “I thought that this guy was out of his mind.”
After retiring from the NBA, Magette focused on expanding basketball camps to Orange County, California. At the same time, Kobe was advocating for girls’ basketball and suggested that Maggette work to incorporate more girls into his training programs.
“He’s always been a visionary,” Maggette said. “He was more of a visionary and looking ahead on how not only he can be a great dad but what he can do for the community.”
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