Our latest New Yorker of the Week is instilling the love of basketball into a younger generation, and teaching them skills that reach far beyond the court. NY1's Pat Kiernan filed the following report.
A love of basketball, his neighborhood and coaching young people the sport he loves is the inspiration behind Macky Bergman's non-profit "Steady Buckets."
"Growing up in the neighborhood, I knew that there wasn't too much more than an open rec-center or some playgrounds, there wasn't anyone teaching the fundamentals of the game, teaching kids what they need to know to be successful," Bergman said.
That's where the idea for "Steady Buckets" came from.
It's a free basketball camp that runs all year-long.
It was 2010 when the Manhattan-native launched the organization with just a handful of players.
Now he coaches 2,000 kids from across the five boroughs.
"As much as I love the game, I love helping children. Once I stopped playing college basketball, and moved on, it was kind of a natural fit to work with young people and share my knowledge," Bergman said.
Some are playing the sport for the first time, others are on their way to play in college.
And they say much of that is thanks to Bergman's dedication.
He's always pushing them to their full potential.
"You could be the best player in the gym or the worst player in the gym, he's still going to help you, he's still going to give you time. He's so patient," said Isabella Cappolla, a Steady Buckets participant.
And that's a lesson he's trying to teach his young players — not just to know how to shoot or dribble but to have patience, confidence, and good sportsmanship.
"Without a doubt, everything we are teaching, the goal is to make them better basketball players. But also to make them better people. There's just so much we can learn on the basketball court about dealing with each other," Bergman said.
Bergman says he's gained just as much over the last eight years.
"I might be getting 'New Yorker of the Week' but I'm the luckiest guy all year long because I get to see these kids, they inspire me every day," Bergman said.
So, for giving every kid a fair shot at learning to play basketball, Macky Bergman is our New Yorker of the Week.