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London NBA star Shaedon Sharpe backs drop-in hoops for youth



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A London-born NBA star says some of his best childhood memories are his days shooting hoops with friends on Friday nights.

Those cherished memories inspired Shaedon Sharpe, a shooting guard on the Portland Trail Blazers, to sponsor a new drop-in basketball program in London.

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City hall on Wednesday announced details of the weekly sessions. Free drop-in basketball for youth aged 10 to 17 will be offered every Friday, beginning Jan. 19, at the Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre, at 656 Elizabeth St.

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“When I was growing up, some of my best childhood memories were hanging with my friends and shooting hoops on a Friday night,” Sharpe said in a statement. “I knew if I ever went pro, I wanted to make sure kids in my hometown had a safe place to hang out and have fun while playing basketball, whether they were just starting out or taking their game to the next level.

“It’s amazing that I’m in a position to give back like this, it means so much to me knowing I have the ability to help out and maybe even inspire the next generation of basketball players coming out of London.”

A former student at H.B. Beal secondary school, Sharpe decided to go pro straight from high school, opting not to play college basketball games with Kentucky, and was selected seventh overall in the 2022 NBA draft.

London Mayor Josh Morgan praised Sharpe for giving back to his community, calling him a “source of pride for the city.”

“These sessions promise an exceptional opportunity for London’s youth to experience more free recreation opportunities that will build on a thriving basketball culture in the city,” Morgan said in the statement.

Space is limited in the weekly sessions and registration is required at

Now in his second NBA season, Sharpe is averaging 16.2 points per game over 31 games so far for the 10-26 Trail Blazers.

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