Today’s news:

NBA player from Hollis to kick off annual skills clinic

A Hollis athlete who has gone the distance in the NBA is giving back to the community starting this Thursday with his annual clinic that not only teaches youth new tricks on the court, but also life skills that will go a long way.

Royal Ivey’s Royal Skills clinic is now in its fourth year and has grown popular, attracting hundreds of kids and teenagers a day´╗┐ to the Hollis Playground at 205th Street and 111th Avenue. The guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder set up the three-day event as a way for the community to come together and have some fun, but at the same time learn valuable lessons.

“I want kids to open their minds and reach what it is they want to do and who they want to become,” the 29-year-old athlete said in a statement.

Participants, who range from 8 to 13 years old, will be taught free basketball drills on various topics including layups, rebounding and defense.

But the clinic will not be entirely focused on sports. Teachers and counselors will also be on hand to give clinics on character building, study skills, nutrition and good parenting.

Ivey, who majored in education in college, said that although he was lucky to make it professionally as an athlete, not many players get the chance to go to the big leagues, so they need a strong academic background as a backup plan.

“You don’t have to be a basketball player to obtain success. You can be a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant or anything you want to be and still work in the NBA,” he said.

Ivey graduated from Benjamin Cardozo High School, where he led the varsity basketball team to the PSAL championship. He went on to play for the University of Texas and was part of that school’s Final Four game in 2003.

Log on to gameovernyc.com/ for more information about the festivities.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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