Henry Walker More Than Just a NBA Guy
Henry Walker delivered the goods Wednesday night in Orlando. If you are a Sioux Falls Skyforce fan you know that Walker can launch from anywhere on the floor. His high arcing bombs seem to get over everyone. Last night the Heat were down 8 with forty seconds to go in the game. It was Walker to the rescue. Check out the video here!
Many of you know that I am the P.A. Announcer for the Sioux Falls Skyforce. It's a job that I love since the NBA D-League is now in town and the Skyforce affiliation with the Miami Heat. It's great to see players like Shabazz Napier, Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson get called up to the bigs. The most recent call up was one of my favorites. Henry Walker.
I remember the night Henry said 11 words to me. They were, 'I want you to call me Henry Walker not Bill Walker.
It turns out, if you ask him, he does have something to say. Important stuff. I recently read on my Facebook news feed an eloquent article from fellow Lyman County resident Tara Eckstaine regarding Henry Walker.
Prepare to be inspired.
A year ago Henry (Bill) Walker) played for the Skyforce and shared his story with one of the team doctors. While his childhood memories are a little dark, dad and brother in prison, struggles in school, etc.,
Henry went on to be a highly recruited college athlete, making it to the NBA for 3 years, before falling from the professional ranks. His story intrigued the team doctor who asked him if he would be willing to share his incredible journey with students in our school.
Initially when I contacted one of the Skyforce officials, they were a little surprised that we wanted Henry to speak, as they were unaware of his speaking skills.
Needless to say, he "wowed" our students and our teachers with his ability to speak very candidly about his experiences.
One of our students challenged his integrity by saying, "If you are so good, why are with the Skyforce and not in the NBA?" Henry, with no hesitation whatsoever, eloquently replied,
"I like you. I really like you. That is a good question. I can't control the past, only know that I am going to keep working hard to get back there again someday."
Henry went on to explain that he falls short, often losing his temper in games, but he continues to learn better skills of maintaining his focus, understanding that he, like these students, is going to fall short; however, he will continue picking himself up and starting over.
Well, Henry's grit and perseverance paid off. On Saturday when Terry went to the Skyforce game he was told Henry had been "called up" to play with the Miami Heat. How proud our Bridges team is to know that last night he made ESPN's top 10 best plays!
Yes, Henry makes mistakes on and off the court, but what makes him a class act is the integrity he exudes by admitting weaknesses, working harder, and displaying grit. He has visited our school 2 times this year, following up with students he promised that he would be checking on.
Mentors, they come in all sizes, colors, and socioeconomic groups...Henry just demonstrated to a group of students who need a good role-model, that if you work hard you get better...no matter how old you are! You go, Henry! We love you and are very proud of you!
Very well written Tara.
It goes to show, that you can simply show up for work every day, or you can do like Henry is. Chase the dream and not let anyone say you can't!