When Rajon Rondo walked into the South Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center, a young boy noticed him standing beside a basketball court. The boy pointed Rondo out to his friends and it didn’t take long before the entire crowd of young participants were trying to catch a glimpse of the newly-minted Los Angeles Laker.
“For me personally, Louisville is where I grew up and became the player I am today. I was always able to go to city parks and play,” said Rondo. “Anything involving kids I’m always all for, especially kids and basketball.”
Rondo was at the Kentucky Exposition Center for Midsummer Hoopla, which is a free event for members of the Boys & Girls Club and Louisville Metro Parks Community Centers. Young athletes compete in three point shootouts, a slam dunk contest, a skills challenge, and other activities.
The participants of the slam dunk contest tried their best to impress Rondo with creative alley-oops and under the leg dunks. Some of the more imaginative attempts may not have scored many points, but it was all-smiles and laughter as they showed off their skills to the four-time NBA all-star.
What does Rajon Rondo look for in a slam-dunk contest?
“The uniqueness of their skill set,” said Rondo. “I’m looking for originality and a little bit of flashiness.”
One participant, Chase Jones of the Parkland Boys & Girls Club, expressed his excitement for the opportunity not only to demonstrate his basketball abilities but also meet an NBA Champion.
“I had fun and I came in second place for the slam-dunk contest,” said Jones.
Rondo enjoyed serving as a judge for the slam-dunk contest but more importantly, his time spent encouraging the young athletes at Midsummer Hoopla.
“My favorite part of the day was seeing smiles on kids’ faces,” said Rondo.
The Kentucky Exposition Center hosts more than 30 youth sporting events annually – including volleyball, archery, cheer and dance, martial arts and BMX – and continues to grow as a youth sports destination. To learn more about the facility or check its calendar of events, visit www.kyexpo.org.