PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Enes Kanter hasn’t been in Portland long but his impact on the community is already undeniable.
This summer the Trail Blazers center is hosting more than 40 free camps in 30 states. He held two in the Portland area this week.
Campers swarmed Kanter when he walked into the Eastmoreland Sports Club for his second camp on Saturday morning.
“When he came in here there was a big group of girls that were like ‘aaahhh he’s here,’ so it made my day because a lot of those kids they don’t get that so it was really dope to see them just super excited about it,” camp coach Nisha Strauch said.
“For him to have this impact in Portland after being here two months it’s almost unheard of,” Coach Terry Stotts said.
In those two months, Kanter has come to love Rip City too.
“We had some good games, we had some bad games but I always see the Moda Center packed cheering for us … they never give up on us,” Kanter said. “They always supported us so that’s why I wanted to show them the same love. I wanted to give back to them with a free camp.”
“I learned more shooting and dribbling skills,” camper Kalia Caoile said.
Kanter hopes to teach kids about more than just basketball but also what it means to be part of a team.
“I learned the team efforts and cool stuff you can do with a team,” camper Colin said.
“It gives these kids hope. They look at the Trail Blazers, they look up to them, some of them they look up to them, some of them they want to be there someday, but they don’t know how to get there,” camp coach Dwayne Marshall said. “So to provide a camp like this kind of gives them direction and some hope that they can accomplish their dreams someday.”