Dunk star scores big with students

Kenny Dobbs, left, signs autographs for students at Prairie River Junior High School in High Prairie. Front left-right, are students Emily Carifelle-Potvin, Dimitri Prince-Sawka and Dave Espina. Back left-right are students Danielle Willier, Kadie Isadore, Kelly Stewart and Anna Milsap.

Richard Froese

From the lows of a rough life growing up to the heights as a top basketball slam dunker in the world, Kenny Dobbs inspired high school students in High Prairie and Donnelly.

“Tell yourself I am a winner, and I can do it,” says Dobbs, who resides in Arizona.

“Keep on going, never quite and just keep believing in yourself.”

He told his life story and encouraged students in High Prairie at E.W. Pratt on Dec. 4, Prairie River Junior High on Dec. 5 and in Donnelly at Georges P. Vanier on Dec. 6.

A former NBA development league player who was drafted but never played, Dobbs shared his touching story from running with gangs and dropping out of school to performing at the NBA all-star game and around the world as one of the world’s best dunkers.

His goal to be drafted into the NBA was reached when he was chosen by the Dallas Mavericks in 2012.

He didn’t play a game in the NBA after he was seriously injured in tryouts.

But his positive influence has reached farther as a motivational speaker.

Overall, he left the students with three key take-away points.

“First, keep God, the Creator, in your life, that you have a plan, a purpose and a destiny,” Hobbs says.

“Second, see yourself as a leader.

“It’s up to you to make decisions in your home, school, team and community.”

Thirdly, he urged the youth to start a dream journal, set goals and take small steps to reach them.

Those three keys helped him convert his negative lifestyle into a fulfilling life and become one of the top Indigenous motivational speakers who has inspired thousands of students around North America.

“My life has been truly blessed,” says Hobbs, who quoted from the Bible.

“I’m living my life to the fullest.”

That’s a long way from his life where he was in the circle of people who were negative influences, including his parents who were active in drugs when he grew up and other friends.

“Live by faith, not by sight,” Dobbs says.

“You can’t live with your circumstances.

“You have to live by faith, pushing your belief in yourself that you can do it.”

People who believe in themselves usually lead to positive lives, Dobbs says.

At age 11, he started to use drugs, that led to other crime then he dropped out of high school.

“My life started to take a deep dark spiral,” Dobbs says.

“Instead of being on the right and narrow track, my life got side-tracked.”

He lived on the street and spent some time in jail.

That’s when he knew he wanted to turn his life around.

“I determined I wanted to make a choice and wanted to be star basketball player,” says Dobbs, who eliminated all the bad influences in his life.

“While in jail, I remember crying out to God to help me get out of this life and make positive choices,” Dobbs says.

He wowed the crowd with his variety of slam dunks that showed his vertical jump of 48 inches.

Dobbs has influenced many NBA stars and helped them develop their slam dunks.

He created the Dare to Dream Foundation that has touched the lives of youth.

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