ORLANDO – If there’s one player’s journey that can really inspire children and prove to them that dreams do come true with hard work and perseverance, it’s Khem Birch’s.
Unlike most of his NBA peers who were fortunate enough to get drafted by a team at 19 or 20 years old, Birch had to jump every hurdle imaginable to eventually get the call from an NBA organization.
Now 25 and getting significant playing time with the Orlando Magic, Birch’s story is confirmation that anything is possible.
In an effort to share his story, Birch made a surprise appearance on Wednesday at a Magic Youth Basketball Academy Spring Break Camp held at the Rosen Jewish Community Center in Southwest Orlando. There, he gave campers some basketball tips and encouraged them to chase their dreams.
“It just tells you to never give up,” Birch said about his incredible journey and how it can positively impact youth. “A lot of kids I feel like these days are kind of doubting themselves. Hopefully (my story) can be a spark for these kids.”
Despite going undrafted in 2014, Birch kept his head up and made the decision that he would be the hardest worker in the gym. First he delivered on his promise in the G League where he was an All-Star and a premier defender and then he did the same overseas where scouts started to believe he could be an asset for an NBA team.
When thinking back to his youth – first in Montreal, Canada and then in Massachusetts when he was in high school – Birch knows how motivating it can be for a child to meet and interact with a professional athlete.
“It’s important because when I was a little kid and any type of professional athlete came to see me it would be a surreal moment,” he said. “I think that showing up will put a smile on these kids’ faces.”
All of the participants of the camp were also treated to Papa John’s Pizza for lunch.
The Magic offer basketball camps at various locations throughout Central Florida during summer, winter and spring breaks. Camps help players ages 6-17 reach their full potential and learn in a fun environment. To learn more, visit http://www.nba.com/magic/camps.