NC State’s Nate McMillan returns to Raleigh for charity event


On Saturday, the 3rd Annual Back 2 School Jam & Bookbag Giveaway was held at Lions Park Community Center located at 516 Dennis Avenue in Raleigh, N. C.  The event was organized by Kemetic Cultural Science and System of Unity (KCSSU), a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to raise youth awareness from a spiritual, mental, psychological and physical perspective.

As in years past, Raleigh native and former N.C. State basketball standout Nate McMillan was the keynote speaker of the event.  Guest speakers were actor Jason Bobbitt from Tyler Perry’s “Love Thy Neighbor” and Wake County Judge Craig Croom.   Raleigh City-Councilman Eugene Weeks was a special guest, but did not speak.

Former NC State and NBA player Nate McMillan talks to the youth about “Opportunity.” Photograph by A. Zach Williams

McMillan, a 12-year NBA veteran, former head coach of the Seattle Supersonics and Portland Trailblazers is currently an associate head coach with the Indiana Pacers.  He spoke passionately about his childhood home “Raleigh North” which he described as a low-income community apartment complex (Raleigh North Apartments) where McMillan and his family were one of the first residents in 1970.

McMillan said “Raleigh North” was a community where families needed and received assistance.  “I want kids to recognize that you’re not in a place where there’s no hope.  There’s plenty of hope…you just need to recognize opportunity.”  McMillan said he was raised in a single parent home, but “through all of that, I was able to grow up, to go off to N.C. State, to be drafted into the NBA and live a nice comfortable life.”  He stressed it wasn’t about him, but rather about all of the volunteers that were present who were successful in their own right.  Many of them came from similar backgrounds,  but found ways to take advantage of opportunities and succeed in life.

Braving the summer heat, this group and those under the trees watch the speaker. Photograph by A. Zach Williams

CEO Kevin Bobbitt, told that his organization (KCSSU) distributed t-shirts, towels, over 400 book bags and food items to more than 600 children and adults who attended the fun-fest. On hand for the Saturday jam was a DJ, plenty of music, pizza and hotdogs for attendees and many volunteers who also gave of their time.

Food items being distributed. Photograph by A. Zach Williams

Kevin Bobbitt:  “We focus on educating our children the right way so that they can get through highschool and basically go to college and be successful in life. One of the main things we teach is moral and ethical principles:  How to get along with one another and having self-respect.”  KCSSU also operates a summer camp with 35-40 children who participate in the summer nutrition program where children are provided breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, an Afterschool program and a basic computer education class for single mothers and anyone who wants to learn basic computer skills.

Actor Jason Bobbitt and Nate McMillan. Photograph by A. Zach Williams

Jason Bobbitt (Kevin’s cousin) grew up on the south side of Raleigh in Halifax Court.  He too found a way to succeed.  Jason preached, “Anything is possible and that you can dream…a dream is something that you envision, and you really have to believe in yourself to know that if I want to do something…I can do it!  There is nothing that can stop me, but me.”  Jason said he had every intention on returning to this event in the future and will assist in making the KCSSU program grow even larger.

Children line up in groups to receive bookbags and goodies. Photograph by A. Zach Williams

More from North Carolina State Wolfpack

Volunteers providing a helping hand. Photograph by A. Zach Williams

As a proud Wolfpacker, I could not end without asking McMillan:  If the opportunity ever arose, would you ever consider coaching collegiately?

McMillan responded, “No.  I’ve been with the NBA for 30 years.  I know the NBA.  To go to college basketball, I think it’s a totally different game.  It’s a whole different life.  I think to go to a college program I would be starting so far behind the eight ball.  It’s a different game. The professional game is a whole different beast.”


Photograph by A. Zach Williams