North Bergen native and current Memphis Grizzlies player Kyle Anderson returned home this weekend to host a basketball clinic at James J. Braddock park.
“We have an event going on, the ‘Celebrate Life Day’ event, in honor of my friend Paul Kim’s passing from suicide – a tragic event that hit us. We wanted to bring a positive light: we have a clinic for kids, ages eight through 14 are able to participate,” Anderson said in an interview with HCV.
“We dealt with them this morning from 9 a.m. until about 2 [p.m.], they got lunch, they went through drills. We also had a men’s tournament from last night, that’s a wrap, that went really well: we had a great turnout and right now we’re going through the high school men’s and women’s tournaments.”
Anderson, who grew up in North Bergen and had a stellar high school career at St. Anthony High School, also said it’s important for him to do whatever he can to come back and home and be able to help out the township’s youth.
Paul Kim was a childhood friend of Anderson’s who died in an apparent suicide back in 2015.
Since then, Anderson has been hosting the Celebrate Life Day clinic in his honor, with all proceeds going toward Erika’s Lighthouse: an organization committed to creating high school depression/suicide awareness programs for middle and high schoolers.
State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco said that Anderson and his family continue to give back to the community, despite the fact that he is poised to enter his sixth season in the NBA.
“Kyle Anderson and his family have been a staple of North Bergen for years: in fact his mother now lives on 75th Street and that’s where he goes when he stays here, when he’s not playing out by the Grizzlies,” Sacco stated.
” … Now they’re giving back to the community and it’s great that [Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair] Anthony Vainieri has worked it out where they can use our parks facilities.”
Vainieri, who helped bring the event outdoors this year, also praised Anderson’s willingness to keep giving back to North Bergen: “he doesn’t forget where he came from,” he said, also expressing excitement that Braddock Park was able to host the event.
“This is the jewel park of the county,” he added.