Photo by Gary Bassing/Orlando Magic

A Q&A at Victor Oladipo’s basketball camp

On Saturday, July 12, Victor Oladipo hosted his first ever basketball camp at RDV Sportsplex. In two separate sessions, kids from 7-11 years old and 12-17 years old worked on their basketball skills with Oladipo playing along and helping out. The kids got the chance to ask Oladipo questions about playing in the NBA and for the Magic before joining him in games of knockout and other drills.

Before he joined the campers, Oladipo talked with the media about what it means to help young players learn to love the game.

Josh Cohen, Just walk us through exactly what you are doing here today.

Victor Oladipo: Basketball camp for the little kids, the bigger kids, for the kids.

It’s kind of like my first one actually. I’m pretty excited. Blessed and fortunate to have one to be able to give back to the kids and share with them my story and share with them the skills I have come to acquire over my years. I sound really old when I said that. I’m looking forward to interacting with kids. There is nothing like putting a smile on their face and sharing a relationship with them that they will probably never forget.

Jamie Seh, WKMG-Orlando: Do you remember when you were their age, running around out of control and just having a good time?

Oladipo: Yeah, I remember when I was their age. I never really went to a basketball camp. But I remember running around out of control. I definitely did that a lot. I was always in a lot of trouble when it came to basketball because that is pretty much what I wanted to do everywhere, whether that be at the grocery store, in the house, in the basement, outside. Even when they told me I shouldn’t go, I did it anyways.

I was pretty much out of control like them. That’s how my love for the game grew, especially at that age. It’s always fun to see kids and see them grow up and share some time with them too.

Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily: Is there something special about working with kids at this age? Working with them in the session this morning, is there something special about it? Can you see that spark?

Oladipo: There’s no question. Like I said, there is nothing like putting a smile on a kid’s face. I think for the most part, I’m a big kid. I love interacting with my fellow kids.

It’s always fun, man. They have a great time. They have so much energy. I feel like I do too. I feel like that’s why we can relate and that’s why we have so much fun when I’m around kids because I try to match their energy and they try to match mine. Sometimes theirs is just through the roof because they’re kids. I try to match them sometimes because mine can be through the roof depending on the day.

It’s always fun giving back to kids. They are the future of this world. They are the future period. I remember as a kid, it made my day when someone gave back to me. I’m just trying to do the same for them.

Jamie Seh: Doing things like this, getting out into the community and kind of with the changes to the roster, you become one of the faces of the franchise. Do you embrace that role?

Oladipo: Why not? I have always been a part of something bigger than myself. I feel like this program is for me to be a leader and a leader of this team, if I have to take that title then so be it. At the end of the day, I’m just going to continue to work hard and continue to get better so I can help my team win.

News Channel 2 Cameraman (sorry I didn’t get your name!): You obviously have a lot of playing years left. Is coaching something that intrigues you? And, also, if you can think about your coaching style, how would you describe it?

Vic camp kids watching 071214_Victor_Oladipo_Camp_128Oladipo: During Summer League, I was coaching a little bit on the bench, and I would probably get thrown out of every game I coached, I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t know about coaching just yet. Coaching style, I would probably be really high energy, pretty much talking to my team every second I can and just being very positive. I will be positive. A very, very, very positive coach. But at the same time, when it comes tot he refs, I might get thrown out of games. We’ll see how that works out after my career is over.

Jamie Seh: Is there a piece of basketball advice that always stuck with you that somebody gave to you? Or life advice that you can impart on these kids?

Oladipo: I think one big thing that I’ll never forget somebody told me is “A setback is a set for a comeback.” In your life, you go through a lot of setbacks. You might come up short in some things. Things just might seem like they are not clicking in the moment. That setback is a set. It prepares a big comeback that people probably have never seen before.

I think that is my life. Through my life and through my career, I always came up short. I’ve always been underrated. You know the story. All that negative stuff and all that coming up short just kept me stronger and just kept a chip on my shoulder for the big comeback that we’re going to have here and the big comeback that I had at IU.

I think it’s all a process. I’m enjoying the process and I’m just going to try to keep getting better. I feel like if I get my better, my team does. Just continue to have this chip on my shoulder.

VictorOladipoCavs121313Jamie Seh: What was your initial reaction to LeBron’s big announcement?

Oladipo: Congratulations. Cleveland is going to be really good. I think that was my reaction. At the end of the day, I’m looking forward to playing them. Congratulations to him. He’s going back home. I know how that might feel. It’s probably overwhelming. Congratulations to them and congratulations to Cleveland. But at the end of the day, I’m worried about Orlando. That doesn’t affect me at all. I mean, it kind of does, because we have to play them four times. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about Orlando Magic. I’m just worried about this team and getting better so I can help this team.

Jamie Seh: At the same time, he’s out of the division now. He’s off the Magic’s cheap rival. What’s your reaction to that, now he’s not there down in South Florida?

Oladipo: It is what it is. Even if he was there, I’d still be doing the same stuff and still be working hard. Like I said, congratulations to him. Congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. And the Miami Heat are still going to be good too. They just resigned Chris Bosh and they got a lot of other pieces coming in too. It’s going to be a fun year next year. We just got to be able to play at a high level every night.

Philip Rossman-Reich: Entering your second year in the NBA, when you go into a room with a group of kids like you do today, does the reaction they give you being an NBA player ever get old? Is that something that still amazes you?

Oladipo: This whole setup amazes me. Like I said, coming from where I’m coming from and my whole story and my background, if you had told me a couple years ago that I would have my own camp and I’d be a part of this organization, I would have called you a liar. It’s a humbling experience. It’s a blessing. I’m going to cherish every moment of it.

The Magic donated more than 7,000 hours of their time as an organization to community service through the Magic Volunteer Program, surpassing the organization’s goal of 6,000 community service hours. It is a big symbol of the organization’s dedication to the Orlando community — from players like Victor Oladipo to the Magic’s staff.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily