Barros Camp At UMB

Kid and basketball at the Dana Barros Basketball Camp

Kid and basketball at the Dana Barros Basketball Camp

Jason Campos

The Dana Barros Basketball Camp held its annual camp on the campus of UMass Boston from August 5-9. Now in its thirteenth year, the camp provides basketball tutelage to youngsters while promoting important life skills such as teamwork and self-discipline.

The camp was founded and is headed by ex-Boston Celtic guard Dana Barros, a native of the Boston area. Barros, who grew up in Mattapan, attended Xaverian High School in Norwood. He later attended Boston College on an athletic scholarship to play basketball. His on-the-court success and accomplishments at the Heights convinced the Seattle Supersonics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) to take him in the 1989 draft with the 16th pick in the first round.

The 5 foot 11 inch guard went on to play four seasons with Seattle, then two years with the Philadelphia 76ers. Then in 1995, he signed as a free agent with his hometown team, the Celtics, where he played for five years.

At one time, Barros was considered one of the premier three-point specialists in the NBA. Unfortunately, Barros has had to battle various injuries in the last few years. He currently plays for the Detroit Pistons. He played only 29 games in the regular season last year and only four postseason contests in two playoff rounds.

Barros started the camp in 1990 shortly after his professional basketball career began, even though his home away from home was over 3000 miles away. The first camp started out with about 50 kids and half a dozen or so instructors. Today, the camp has grown into a program that can support around 350 youths, ages 8-18, with 70 professional staff members. There are also some scholarships available to those who require some financial assistance.

The camp is held over a weeklong period and often Barros brings along a guest or two. In the past, athletes such as Celtic Paul Pierce and Walter McCarty have attended to lend a hand. Of course Barros becomes directly involved with the basketball tutorials, from participating in dribbling drills to lecturing on the art of the set-shot.

Barros understands the importance that adult involvement can have on a kid’s life, and he feels that basketball can make a profound difference in many areas of young person. Furthermore, although basketball is a game, one of the objectives of the camp is to teach young athletes to have fun and work together, skills and ideals that can be transferred to other areas of life.

Barros has received adulations and praise from various organizations for the overall success of the camp due to its exemplary structure, and commitment from founder. In 1995 he received the Community Service Award from Mayor Tom Menino. Four years, the Community Hero of the Year Award was bestowed upon him at the second Annual Boston Sports Awards.

Although the camp is focused on the youths, the inclusion of parents and guardians plays an important role. The children can watch their folks demonstrate their basketball skills in the Annual Parent/Staff Challenge (Barros participates as well). There is a concluding Awards dinner, and of course, games between the kids where the youths can display their newfound skills with confidence and pride.