Andre Agassi making children champions

Jul 8, 2011 by

Andre Agassi was preparing to face longtime tennis rival and friend Pete Sampras in February during an exhibition match at Madison Square Garden in New York.

But before he took to the court, the Las Vegas native had a phone call to make. He surprised the basketball players at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy — the tuition-free public charter school he founded in 2001 on West Lake Mead Boulevard in one of Southern Nevada’s most at-risk neighborhoods — by contacting them in the locker room at the Orleans Arena before their Nevada state championship game against Incline High School of Northern Nevada.

Agassi’s pregame talk worked wonders.

Not only did Agassi Prep capture the school’s first championship in any sport, the team beat Incline by nearly 40 points, 89-50.

The players, completely surprised by the call, were inspired by Agassi’s gesture and words.

“It definitely pumped us up for the game,” said Agassi Prep rising senior Kalinn Jackson, who scored a game-high 24 points in the win. “He pretty much told us that we had to put everything on the line in order to come out of the game with success. He reminded us to play hard and to not have any fear coming into the game.”

Agassi, after all, knows a thing or two about excelling on the big stage. An eight-time Grand Slam winner and Olympic gold medalist, Agassi will be honored Saturday for his tennis achievements by being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

Trophies and other awards Agassi won during his career are so numerous it would be hard to count. He went 870-274 with 60 tournament titles, including four



n, two U.S. Open, and one French Open and Wimbledon.

But a recent addition to the collection carries similar significance to him. He was awarded a state ring for Agassi Prep’s championship basketball season. Talk with players, coaches and school officials, and they will confirm Agassi was a valuable part of the team.

Agassi said he talked about cherishing the moment, playing with confidence and, above all else, enjoying themselves.

via Andre Agassi making children champions – Friday, July 8, 2011 | 2:05 a.m. – Las Vegas Sun.

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