SPORTS by Brad Weisman: Doing Good Off The Court
It was a matter of just minutes that I learned Peter Ezugwu (the gentle giant) is much more than a former athlete. I suppose it was not hard to notice his 6ft 8 stature when he walked through the door, however I could just as easily feel the depth of his heart. He carries the tall order to help others and change people’s lives that extend beyond his own. This is an unusual quality for a prolific athlete to take on once their athletic career evaporates. For any athlete this is the beginning to a new beginning that is not often easy to accept. Peter left baskeball while at the top of his game and could have continued his successful career, however he was ready for the next chapter. Peter was certain his future following basketball was one of purpose and compassion to others……..forever…….and not one looking for personal recognition. However, it is important to understand where Peter came from before you can really understand where he is. He was born in England and surrounded by a family with a strong value base. His folks were both educated, however spoiled Peter with life lessons at an early age. It was not uncommon for his family to take in someone who was less fortunate……provide them with a warm meal…….clothes….and perhaps a place to sleep at times.
It became increasingly clear to Peter at an early age that helping others was part of his DNA and would be part of his life forever. He did come from a family of privilege (privilege which was earned through hard work and perseverance); however the path set forward was to help those in need. I suspect that Peter has helped many others and never was really looking for notoriety. Maybe his payment was the smile he may have earned on his face or the smile he put on someone else. His kindness is a bright spot which he keeps to himself and continues to carry forward. His teenage years and adult life have been filled with athletic and academic accolades; however Peter knew he served a higher purpose. He once lit the floor of basketball courts at the division one level which later developed into a successful professional career in Europe. Throughout his entire basketball career he knew his destiny was to help others once he left the game. Today Peter has founded two organizations that help serve young athletes which both place emphasis on youth sports and the underprivileged community. As much as basketball created a purpose for Peter it is simply life lessons that have come first in his life. In fact, both of his organizations (Future Star athletes www.futurestarsathletes.com & Future Stars Global Foundation www.fsgf.org) have created a platform for having fun andembracing life’s lessons. Values such as accountability, dedication, commitment, stewardship are just a few of the important traits taught to participants. This is less about children learning about sports and more about paving a path for present and future success in life. Additionally, both of these organizations place emphasis on supporting other causes. It is refreshing to see an athlete leave the game on their own terms and take that very same energy in changing the game for others….a change that is hyper focused on being positive. I would argue Peter’s heart and willingness to help others will out shine anything he ever did on the court.