LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For Makisha and Kei Childress, it’s bigger than basketball.
“It’s mainly about the bond. We travel together, we room together - these guys are together all the time even without us now. That’s just what they’re used to," said Kei Childress.
In addition to coaching at Rancho High School, the couple run Hardwork Dedication - a unique, affordable traveling basketball program.
“A lot of these kids can play basketball but it’s too expensive so we try to do whatever we can be able to let them play, said Makisha Childress.
Since beginning the program, the couple has never turned a player away. Allowing kids to play, whether or not they can afford to, often means the couple paying out of their own pockets - a generosity not lost on their young players.
“I’m really grateful for that because a lot of people can’t really afford it like myself probably. If it was like any other team, I probably wouldn’t be able to play for them. So it helps a lot," said Isaiah, a high school senior who has played for the Childress'.
A lot of what makes Makisha and Kei special as coaches though has nothing to do with money. They care about their players.
“I’m still a mom and these are all my kids so if something’s happened, I’ll send a message just to check on them and some of them sometimes some of them will cry because they’re not used to someone checking on them.," said Makisha.
Makisha and Kei lead by example. And their players respond - not just on the court, but off too.
“We try to provide everything we can but the kids are great too. They work hard and do everything they need to do to make it happen," said Kei.
For Makisha and Kei, there’s nothing better than coaching the young men to the next level.
“Maybe basketball, maybe not - college somehow. And hopefully as cheaply as possible. That’s the goal," said Kei.
College is the goal with the court as the classroom.
“Not just basketball coaches, they coach you through life," said James, a high school senior and Hardwork Dedication player.
It’s always been bigger than basketball.
The couple is a recipient in our 13 Days and Knights of Giving - sponsored by the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation, Subaru of Las Vegas and America First Credit Union.