Bigger Than Basketball

On the heels of releasing the "Loyalty Collection" with NBA All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, I stopped by the Boogie Cousins' Elite Basketball Skills Camp.  This marks the 4th year of his summer camp in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento.  This also marks the 4th year that CLOUD.IX has been a proud sponsor of this event.  I always enjoy shooting here because of all the positive energy in the building.  It is truly something that can not be recreated and the memories and lessons these kids receive will stay with them forever.

The first thing you should know about DeMarcus' camp is that it is completely free and the kids are hand selected by community based organizations.  This is something that DMC has dedicated himself to since he arrived in Sacramento.  He is always looking for opportunities to help out the community of Sacramento, especially the kids who reside in the more tough areas of town.  As a kid a who was once in their shoes, he relates to their struggles and always finds a way to quickly connect with them.

"I'm here to help the kids, teach them the game of basketball, bring them together. Different age groups, different races from different places and you know just bringing people together and having fun." - DeMarcus Cousins.

The camp itself is ran by Coach Dave Taylor and although the camp is a lot fun, he makes sure that the life lessons of discipline, respect, and hard work are stressed to the kids every chance he gets.  The camp also featured some special guest speakers such as NBA forward Matt Barnes, former Kings player Henry Turner, and current Kings Coach Dave Joerger.  Each of them spoke to the kids about the game of basketball but mostly echoed the life lessons being instilled in them throughout the camp.

Along with receiving coaching from accomplished coaches and players, the kids get to learn and hang out with NBA All-Star DeMarcus Cousins.  It may seem obvious that a player would attend his own camp but contrary to popular belief that is a rarity in the NBA.  Cousins not only ensures his camp is completely free of cost but he shows up everyday and participates in drills and hosts a Q&A with the campers each day of the camp.

The headline sponsor of the camp is VSP Global, a vision care provider.  They are dedicated to helping people see all over the world.  VSP has a heavy presence at the camp, providing free eye care for all the campers who wish to have their eyes checked and provide free glasses for those in need.  They do this from their mobile eye care unit which is parked in front of the gym throughout the camp.  They also don't stop at the campers, they open up their doors to the entire community to receive eye care during the camp.  DeMarcus often pops in to the mobile care unit to hang out during the eye exams.

If you have ever been around DeMarcus for even one minute, you can tell that he doesn't fabricate anything.  He prides himself on being genuine 100% of the time.  His camp is certainly no exception to that.  As he plays with the kids, you can tell how comfortable he is in the environment that he has created here.  Again, I feel grateful to have the opportunity to capture this event through my lens and have CLOUD.IX play a small role in supporting the Boogie Cousins' Elite Skills Camp.  Until next year...