Once drafted, Randy Foye wanted to get one thing out of the way. A product of the often rough-and-tumble streets of Newark, N.J., Foye wanted to give back by creating his own foundation.
That usually isn't the first thing on a rookie's list of things to do as an NBA player. Foye's first priority wasn't signing the biggest contract in history or finding a lucrative shoe deal.
The former Villanova star, who graduated in 2006, knows that there are more important things in life than playing basketball.
"Basketball is important," Foye said before last night's tip between the Sixers and his Minnesota Timberwolves. "[But] I like to help people. I like seeing the smile on their faces after just talking to them. It's simple but [it] makes a difference."
During his rookie year with the Timberwolves, Foye established his partnership, which aims to help the community - especially kids - by funding programs and projects in the Newark, Philadelphia and Minneapolis areas. Since both of Foye's parents passed away before he reached kindergarten age, he likes to point kids in the right direction.
Former 'Nova hero and current Timberwolves assistant coach Ed Pinckney, CBS analyst Bill Raftery and past-and-present Villanova coaches Rollie Massimino and Jay Wright make up just some of the Randy Foye Foundation's board of directors.
But Foye doesn't just help fund projects.
He personally assists with and attends events such as yesterday's meet and greet with fans prior to the game. Foye posed for pictures, signed autographs and even hugged some of the fans who purchased tickets through his foundation. Every handshake was met with a smile.
At Izod Arena, home of the Nets, Foye arranged for two school-bus-loads of Newark public school honor students to attend the game.
But while he was born and raised in Newark, the Wachovia Center is where Foye calls "home."
"It definitely feels like home," Foye said. "This is a special building. I have a lot of great memories here. It feels good to help people [here].
"I just wish that we could be here more often. Playing in the West, we're only here once a year."
Foye struggled in front of his "hometown" crowd. Though logging the most minutes for the Timberwolves, Foye was just 1-for-5 from three-point range and an even worse 1-for-10 from the field. He finished with eight points.
Foye said he will be glued to tonight's clash between his alma mater and Duke in the Sweet 16. Minnesota, luckily for Foye, has the night off.
"I have teammates from both UCLA [Kevin Love] and Duke [Shelden Williams]," Foye said. "It will be pretty interesting."
During his senior year, Foye guided the Wildcats to a win over Boston College in the Sweet 16. As far as a prediction about tonight's game, there was no doubt.
"Villanova - definitely," he said. "'Nova is going to win."
No, we're not talking about this story. Elton Brand will be reading to a group of 50 children at the Philadelphia public library at 1700 S. Broad St. today. Kareem Rush and Royal Ivey also will be reading at libraries in Wilmington and Camden, respectively, as part of the Sixers' Library Line-Up Tour. The Sixers are encouraging all fans attending tomorrow night's contest against Charlotte to donate a book at the door.