SAN ANTONIO — Since Spurs' Lonnie Walker IV was drafted by San Antonio in 2018, he's proven he isn't just about excelling on the NBA hardwood.
Walker has been a shining example of what it means to give back to the community, especially in San Antonio.
And what he's done for San Antonio has been nothing short of amazing.
From investing in a San Antonio-based tech company, MACH1, providing help to San Antonio businesses impacted by the pandemic, to recently teaming up with Fantastic Sams to give free haircuts for San Antonio families, Walker has positively impacted the lives of many.
Recently, Walker and his foundation, The Lonnie Walker IV Foundation, teamed up with Fantastic Sams to be a part of the "Never Give Up" pep rally at LaVernia High School to promote the importance of education, and play cornhole against Trevor Caballero, a San Antonio cornhole-phenom.
After the rally, Walker spoke with KENS 5 about why he is passionate about giving back to the community, and much more.
Jeff: Lonnie, what is it about giving back to the community? You've done so much since day one here in San Antonio, from helping in the pandemic to now.
Lonnie: That's just who I am as a person. It's always been bigger picture, helping out as much as I can.
And being able to be in the role that I am and continue to influence and inspire our others, that's what I would love to do. Continue to show that with a never give up attitude, continue to be who you want to be, that's what I want.
Back home, we didn't have much people to look up to. So for me, it meant a lot for me to be in the position I am and continue to share my story and motivate the youth.
Jeff: You really stressed education at LaVernia High School's "Never Give Up." How important it is for these young men and women to understand that's the key to everything in life?
Lonnie: Education is pretty much the essence of life for us as far as becoming whoever we want to be, whether it's being a nurse or psychologist or doctor or math teacher, study teacher history teacher, you name it.
It all comes with education. To have knowledge is power. And I feel like that is the wealthiest thing that you're going to have in this world is knowledge.
So being able to go to school and very hone into the academics and continue to be inspired by it, it takes a lot, but it's well worth it.
Jeff: What was it about this that drew you in to partner with Fantastic Sams for this event?
I just doing whatever I can, honestly. They [Fantastic Sams] did such a great job with allowing me to spread my message and help others as much as we can.
We [Lonnie Walker IV Foundation] know that they do free haircuts annually. That was something that I was more than humbled and blessed to be a part of.
I'm truly blessed that they allowed me to be doing things with them and helping out because that's all I want to do at the end of the day, is help out as much as I can.
Whether it's the "Never Give Up" rally, your help during the pandemic, cleaning up San Antonio during the George Floyd protest, and helping small businesses in San Antonio, is there a community outreach you're most proud of?
I think cleaning downtown was probably one of the most impactful moments of me being in San Antonio as far as just everything that was going on at that point in time, all the animosity, all the anger, all the emotions, it was raw within that, within downtown.
There was meetings, there was people talking. The emotions there was like no other. I could completely understand that. For me to be there and clean up and help out as much as I can, it hit a way that I thoroughly can't explain. It reminded me of just being back home.
It inspired so much in me because I would say that point in time, as far as San Antonio has been through, that was one of the hardest moments in a while. To see everyone gathered together of all ages, of all colors, of all ethnicities, it holds a lot of weight.
What can we expect down the road from the Lonnie Walker IV Foundation?
Stay tuned. We got a lot coming up. Last year, I didn't get to do my basketball camp and everything back home. So trying to do stuff within the community, within San Antonio, probably do a camp and whatnot, do some camps back home [Reading, PA] as well.
Stay here at KENS 5 next week as Lonnie continues his chat with us, including how Manu Ginobili is working with him, celebrating coach Gregg Popovich's coaching milestone and much more.