What a great week it was in Slidell as Chris Duhon, his wife and entourage visited Chris’ hometown.
Duhon is a native of Slidell where he graduated from Salmen High School and signed a scholarship with Duke University. From there, Duhon played for the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and most recently the Los Angeles Lakers. Since Hurricane Katrina, Duhon has continued to give back to his community. Every year his foundation, the Chris Duhon Stand Tall Foundation, gives away Thanksgiving dinners, holds a basketball camp, a free dance camp, a fundraising golf tournament, and awards five St. Tammany Parish students each with a $5,000 scholarship.
Every one of Duhon’s events is fun and outstanding. This year’s golf tournament featured other NBA players like J.J. Redick and Robert Sacre. Redick played basketball at Duke with Duhon and now plays for the Los Angeles Clippers. Sacre was a teammate of Duhon’s with the Lakers.
Duhon was waived by the Lakers this summer, but last year, in 46 games (nine starts), Duhon averaged 2.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 17.8 minutes while recording three double-figure scoring games, 10-plus assists twice and one double-double. With those kinds of numbers, even as a role player, I believe he will sign with a new team this offseason.
Originally, it was Duhon and his mom plus some of his local family that put on these events, but now Chris’ wife Andrea and their son have become a part of it all, too. Andrea is truly a gem. She just finished her PhD in mathematics, so she is not only smart but beautiful. Their little boy is four years old, and he is so well behaved. He attends every event the couple hosts, and I’ve never seen him have a bad attitude or get rowdy. He is the spitting image of Chris and Andrea, too.
It will be a year before Chris and his family are back in town for their annual events, but next year will be the 10th anniversary of the basketball camp. I want to encourage the community to send their kids to this camp. Where else is a child or teenager going to get to learn about basketball first-hand from an NBA player? The Lakers’ Sacre was even at the camp for the last day to talk with the kids. The money from the camp goes straight back to the foundation, which ends up right back in this community.
The scholarship dinner is something any adult would enjoy. It is only $30 for a ticket, which includes dinner, drinks, silent auction, chatting with Chris and his family and meeting the scholarship winners. The previous scholarship winners are usually there, at least a handful of them, and it’s really encouraging to hear about how much Duhon’s scholarship helped them get where they are today. Some of their stories are outstanding.
Chris and his family, especially his mom Vivian, have continually done a great job in this community of “coming home” and giving back. I want to encourage more of the community to get involved and participate in these annual events. It’s a great foundation that provides a lot of fun events. Those in attendance always have a good time, and it’s wonderful to see those who attend year after year.
For more information on the Stand Tall Foundation, e-mail Vivian at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit chrisduhonstandtall.org..
(Chrissy Smith is Sports Editor of the Slidell Independent, and a former college athlete. She can be reached at email@example.com.)