Contributing writer Iaja Rogers caught up with NBA Warriors player Moses Moody who was back home on Friday, July 22, to give the NBA Championship Trophy a tour through the city.
Meeting A Hometown Hero: Little Rock’s Own Moses Moody
Walking into the Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids (PARK) gymnasium, I was unsure of how to act. Not only was I a bit starstruck, but the environment was a stark contrast from my quiet day spent in the office.
Everywhere you turned, there was a reminder of who we were all there for. Blue and yellow balloons perfectly assembled into banners around all the basketball goals. Little kids arriving in their Golden State jerseys, anxiously waiting to see the championship trophy and their hometown hero in the flesh.
I nervously hung around the t-shirt table, anticipating the moment the star of the show would walk through the doors. All of a sudden I looked up and there he was, Moses Moody, Little Rock’s very own rookie basketball star from Little Rock.
He was dressed casually in comfortable shorts and a t-shirt. He had a smile on his face as his team flocked to update him on what was about to happen. He had spent the day touring local schools so kids could see the championship trophy. Despite the busy day, he had a calm demeanor and looked brightly toward the children there to see him.
Moody was experiencing a full-circle moment.
This was the same gym he grew up playing basketball in, alongside his father, Kareem Moody. Many of the people in attendance had known him and his family for years.
When I finally made my way toward Moody, I started to feel the nervousness creep up. However, the moment we introduced ourselves to one another I was immediately at ease. There was an air about him that felt familiar, like maybe he was an old soul. I could only imagine how surreal it must have been for him to be back in the place that helped to shape who he is.
Moses Moody was born on May 31, 2002 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He started off his high school basketball career in Little Rock, AR at Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School during his freshman year. He then spent the next two years at North Little Rock High School before finishing his senior year at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida.
In 2019, Moody committed to playing college basketball at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville where he earned SEC Freshman of the Year for the 2020-21 school year. 2021 marked the year Moody was selected as 14th pick for the 2021 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. Less than a year later and he was winning a championship with his team for the 2022 NBA Finals.
Now here he was, back on his home court, surrounded by support from his fellow Arkansans. Moody is a true talent, but what helped him get to where he is now?
According to him, “Resilience. I always pride myself on being able to commit to something and follow it through. And to do it through a long period of time. Throughout this rigorous NBA season, ups and downs, highs and lows, I feel like I’ve done a good job with that and it’s a testament that I can do it.”
He added, “You gotta do it your own way. You know, take all the advice, all the help from people that’s willing to do it, especially when you’re young. But you’re going to get to a point where it’s gonna be on you.
“You know, everybody’s gonna have opinions on what you should do or what you shouldn’t do, but when it comes down to the decision to do what you’re gonna do, it’s on you and you gotta live with the consequences.”
It was evident to me that Moody was a hard worker, committed to getting better with the continuation of his career. On top of that, he was filled with a genuineness that made him approachable and easy to talk with. As we ended our interview, I implored what he would do now that he was back in Arkansas for a little bit.
“Honestly, I’m probably going straight to my homeboy’s house. Then we’re gonna get together and plan out the plays from there.” Moody said. I chuckled at his down-to-earth answer.
You gotta do it your own way. You know, take all the advice, all the help from people that’s willing to do it, especially when you’re young. But you’re going to get to a point where it’s gonna be on you.
Having grown up in Arkansas and experiencing the energy that those in the community had in that gymnasium made me feel so proud to be there. I could feel that they loved him and he loved him right back.
When I asked him how it felt to share this win with his community he explained, “You know it’s cool doing this in San Francisco and California and all that, that was a great experience. But the main thing about coming back and doing it at home kinda solidifies it and makes it feel real.”