Bob Davis: Paying it Forward

The gift he was given was tennis. Segregation was the law in this lawless land, so the color of his skin meant many things: 1) he was not able to play tournaments and compete against his peers 2) he would change the world through the gift of tennis one player at a time. Thousands and thousands and thousands of players thousands and thousands and thousands of times. The goal: introduce as many minority youth as possible to tennis. Offer free medical and dental care as well. Offer academic support and tutoring . . .  Obstacles? What obstacles?  If you were given a gift like tennis, you pass it forward, multiply it by love and any money you could beg from those with means who were moved by your dream and the concrete reality of the many gifts you shared.  For each gift your given, pass 100 forward. Create organizations. Run them. Promote them. Be everywhere and everything at once. Meet and greet. Write and write and cheerlead and schmooze. Have your racquet ready. Your integrity, your mind, your pen. Talk the talk; walk the walk. Play the game well. Promote it better. Create opportunities where they do not exist. Find the role, the roles, for which you were born. National Program Directory for the Ashe/Bollettieri “Cities” Tennis Program, first executive director of the Black Tennis Hall of Fame. The work goes on and on: the Arthur Ashe Safe Passage Foundation, Black Dynamics, Inc., The Panda Foundation, Inc. . . .  ( . . .   “We used tennis as a hook to bring kids into productive adulthood,” Bob Davis says. “We developed some competitive players… maybe not world champions, but we got a lot of kids to stay in school and become productive adults. It’s the most important thing I’ve ever done.”

For more on Bob Davis and his legacy, check out the following short bios from The American Tennis Association and the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame.

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