Ramon Sessions returns the love with $1 million donation to alma mater

Sekou Smith

Sekou Smith

Ramon Sessions always dreamed big where basketball was concerned, even if no one else shared his particular vision.

But someone at the University of Nevada did. They believed in him when few others did, and Sessions returned the favor last week with a $1 million donation to his alma mater toward the development of an on-campus basketball practice facility.

The idea of his name being splashed across a building — the Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center — on the campus he called home from 2004-2007 still boggles the mind for the 10-year NBA veteran and backup point guard for the Charlotte Hornets.

The $1 million donation is the largest ever given to the Nevada athletics department by one of its alumni and is the lead gift on a $2 million fundraising effort that includes nearly a dozen other donors.

“Obviously, I’m blessed to be in a position to do this,” Sessions said by phone Friday after the Hornets wrapped up practice. “We’d talked about it the past couple of years, doing something to give back to a place that gave me so much. But I didn’t know how much … it’s a dream come true for me. I never thought it would happen.”

Sessions believes in dreams becoming reality. His NBA career is a testament to that belief.

The Milwaukee Bucks selected Sessions with the 56th pick in the 2007 Draft. He entered the league without any guarantee that he would last through his first training camp, let alone 10 years (and counting).

A journeyman’s career is not an easy existence, given the uncertainty that accompanies each and every opportunity. Sessions has played for the Bucks (twice), Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards. This is his second stint with the Hornets (he played for the Charlotte Bobcats (61 games during the 2012-13 season and 55 games during the 2013-14 season).

“It hasn’t been easy,” Sessions said. “Again, I’ve been blessed. Definitely, for me to be here as a 10-year veteran, the 56th pick, it’s something you sit back and shake your head about. But I always believed in myself and just tried to take every opportunity to do whatever I could to help my team win.”

He’s stepping into a backup point guard role for the Hornets this season that Jeremy Lin played to perfection for a 48-win team last season. Lin moved on to Brooklyn in free agency, opening up a spot on the roster behind Kemba Walker that Sessions was eager to fill.

It should be a smooth transition. Sessions knows Steve Clifford’s system and knows what it takes to play a strong supporting role behind a dynamic point guard, as he did during the last two seasons behind John Wall in Washington.

“It’s totally different for me here in Charlotte this time around,” Sessions said. “I’m 30. I think I’m the second oldest player on this team. I’m not the young guy trying to prove himself anymore. So I’ll mentor when I can and do my best to provide whatever is needed to make sure we’re in a position to reach all of our team goals this season.”

SEKOU SMITH | Writer Archive

Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.


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