Pachulia, a center for the Hawks, was mixing it up with the children ages 7 to 16 at one of the Hawks summer basketball camps. He said he enjoys teaching the next generation of basketball stars.
“I always love to be involved with the kids,” Pachulia said. “I enjoy helping the adults, but the kids are the future. I am just trying to give them great experiences and knowledge.”
Pachulia said he understands that his stature as an NBA player has an extra weight to it for the campers.
He had a rewarding experience when he was a youngster in the country of Georgia when fellow countryman and former NBA player Vladimir Stepania coached him at a camp.
“I remember when I had the experience to meet an ex-NBA player,” Pachulia said. “He told me one good thing and I still remember those words. He saw something positive in me and I remember how his words helped me.”
Pachulia said he hopes to be the same kind of influence on the campers this summer.
“I hope some of them will become community athletes and then give back themselves through community service,” Pachulia said.
Pachulia had some words of wisdom for the “big men” out there, but he said his time with the campers was not limited to strict instruction.
“You have to make sure it is interesting for them so we play some games and show them how our practices run,” Pachulia said.
Pachulia said giving back to the community is something that means a lot to him.
“It is a such great feeling when you influence someone in a good way,” he said. “And I call this my hometown. I have lived here for seven years. I love the people here, I love the fans and I love the city. I feel like it is mine, so I want to be involved and do positive things on and off the court here.”
Pachulia was busy the week of June 18 going around to all the camps in the Atlanta area.
Michael Brown, manager of the Hawks sports programs and event marketing, said the campers have been learning generic basketball skills at the six camps this summer.
“This is a great opportunity for us to reach out into the community and have an interaction with the young players, potential fans and current fans,” Brown said. “This is a way to give back and share the sport of basketball with the young players.”