Training Your Character

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Being a well-rounded athlete means more than having power, speed and finesse. Character—the way you conduct yourself on and off the court, in the classroom and in your community—is also key.

Whether you play high school, college or professional ball, the community around you is a huge support system. They cheer for your wins, suffer your losses and treat every game like it's the only thing that matters. So why not give back when you can, like Chris Paul does through his foundation, CP3?

Every year, the North Carolina native heads home for his annual Chris Paul Winston-Salem Weekend. With famous friends in tow, including Bobby Jackson, Tyson Chandler, David West, Sean May and Raymond Felton, CP3 sponsors a service day, bowling tournament, church service and basketball clinic for local children.

While CP has settled in as the Hornets' leading scorer over the past few seasons, he says his role as a leader off the court, especially to young fans, is just as important. "You just can't take [fame] for granted," he says. "I try to let kids know I'm just as normal as they are. I went to school, did the same things they do. And it's not about [basketball] abilities all the time; it's about how you are as a person, your character."

Fame isn't necessary for you to make a difference. No matter what your stage in life, you can make an impact on someone else's. "I feel like [giving back] is really important...it goes a long way," says Memphis Grizzlies guard and event supporter Rudy Gay.

Don't wait until you have the contract, shoe and career to do something good for someone. Take a page from Raymond Felton's playbook, and be a big brother to a local kid by volunteering at your area Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization [bbbs.org]. Or, volunteer at The Boys and Girls Club [bgca.org]. You can even coach a community, church or middle school team. Anything you choose means you'll be using your sports skills for a greater good.

For more volunteer opportunities in your town visit volunteermatch.com

 
Start the season off on the right foot by picking up a fresh pair of basketball shoes complete with new basketball clothing

 

 


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock