Robert Hite: Using the BIG3 Platform to Help Others
By Robert Hite July 18, 2018
Robert Hite grew up in Cincinnati but went to college at the University of Miami (Fla.), where he finished his career fifth on the Canes’ all-time scoring list. He also finished his college career ranked third in school history in 3-pointers – so it wasn’t a big surprise that Hite hit a 4-pointer in his BIG3 debut in Tri-State’s Week 1 win over Trilogy. Hite now lives in Miami, so the BIG3 playing at American Airlines Arena this week has a special meaning for him – both on and off the court. Hite explains in this week’s BIG3 Diary:
Playing in the BIG3 this summer has been fun — that’s definitely the first word I conjure up when I think about it. It’s been fun just being back on the court. I haven’t played organized ball in two years, so it’s great to be part of something like this.
I knew a bunch of guys who played last year and they wanted me to try out, but I just had shoulder surgery, so I wasn’t ready. This year, I was ready. I went to the combine back in April and played well, so here I am. Happy that Tri-State coach Julius Erving and captain Jermaine O’Neal decided to draft me. Even happier that we’re off to a 3-1 start.
I love our team. I definitely feel we have one of the better teams in the league this year and I feel good about our chances of reaching the BIG3 Championship game. I love playing with the guys. We get along pretty well and we play well together. We didn’t have a lot of practice time before the season, but every week we’ve gotten a little better. We’re doing a great job of putting things together and playing off each other.
My first game in the BIG3 couldn’t have been better – we knocked off Trilogy, the defending champs, and I even sank my first 4-pointer! I’ve been shooting from back there since high school, so it’s nothing new to me. I’m comfortable with shooting the ball from all the way out there. I’ll definitely get a couple more of those to go down this season.
Miami is my home, but I haven’t played down here in a while, so this week is like a homecoming for me. Just the support from the general public and friends and family in this area has been amazing. (Unfortunately, I had to tell everybody to go to Big3.com for tickets, because the request for tickets has been overwhelming.)
As excited as I am about playing again in Miami, I’m even more excited about the event we’re presenting here on Wednesday.
About three years ago, my business partner Mike Pilgrim and I started a foundation called I Bel13ve, a nonprofit organization to support youth. Here in Miami, we are partnering with the Trayvon Martin Foundation to put on an event called I Bel13ve in Change.
We want to try to change laws to help prevent gun violence and school shootings. We want to change perceptions. We want to create better relationships between the police officers and the community. The Trayvon Martin Foundation supports families who have lost children to gun violence and they do great work in the community, so this was the perfect partnership. We’re both moving in the same direction and it just made sense.
This will be our first event together. We’re bringing 150 kids to the Ninja Lounge, a trampoline park in North Miami. The kids will have an opportunity to have fun, play and jump around. Then we’ll have a panel discussion with myself and some peers, some city officials, just to hear from the kids, hear about what they feel is going on in the community with the gun violence and police shootings.
In addition to I Bel13ve, Mike and I also started Flight School Basketball Academy back in Cincinnati, where we train kids and we have a few kids that play AAU basketball. Some kids are going to play in college this year, which is exciting. So we’re just looking to build on that.
Being able to play organized basketball again has been a blessing – not just for the chance to get back on the court but to have this platform to help kids. What Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz have started with the BIG3 — empowering the players and helping us stay in the public eye — it just gives us another platform to use to be able to help more people, help more kids. It allows people to see what we’re doing in the communities, the positive things that we’re doing as athletes. It’s important for people to see that, as opposed to the negative stuff that you hear too much about.
To learn more about I Bel13ve, follow the organization on Instagram.
For more from Robert Hite, check out his Instagram account.