Tyrese Maxey will never forget the time he landed a game-winning shot in a scrimmage at Brooklyn Nets forward LaMarcus Aldridge’s camp in their hometown of Dallas, Texas. The Sixers guard felt inspired by the surroundings as he showed young Maxey that one day he could make it in the NBA.
“It’s funny when I play against LaMarcus, I know for a fact he doesn’t remember who I am but I always said to him, ‘Man, I went to your side when I was younger. It was amazing,” Maxey said.
Now the 21-year-old, entering his third season with the Sixers, hosted a free youth camp called 1% Skills Camp at William Penn Charter School on Saturday.
Children aged 7 to 12 filled the gymnasium. Maxey worked his way through each group, playing one-on-one (where the 6ft 2in playmaker had no shame in blocking their shots) or rocking the youngsters during a exercise.
“The main message I want to bring is happiness,” Maxey said. “I think we’re all blessed to be alive, healthy enough to have our legs, move around and do different things… And of course I always say do 1% better.”
Besides the Philadelphia camp, Maxey is also hosting camps Saturday in Dallas and Aug. 20 in Lexington, Ky., where he attended the University of Kentucky.
“I’ve wanted to go to Kentucky since I was in fifth grade,” Maxey said. “As soon as [John] Calipari got the job. It was a dream come true to go there so I always want to go back and give back to them.
Maxey has been in touch with his teammates throughout the summer, which has been a busy offseason for the Sixers.
Guard James Harden took a $15 million pay cut during NBA free agency, giving up his $47.36 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
The Sixers signed defensive specialist PJ Tucker for three years at $33 million and added rotation player Danuel House for $8.5 million over two years.
They also picked up combo guard De’Anthony Melton in a trade that sent 23rd draft pick David Roddy with Danny Green to the Memphis Grizzlies. They also signed guard Trevelin Queen.
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Maxey believes the new additions will add more physicality to the Sixers roster and give them what they need to succeed.
“I think they will definitely help us with the mental toughness,” Maxey said. “I think they will also help with just the physical strength. The grit and the grind that we have to bring to our team and also, I think guys like PJ, he’s going to bring the championship mentality. I think we’re going to really appreciate it for that.
“A training camp and an entire season together will only be good things.”
Maxey has high expectations for himself heading into the 2022-23 season. Coach Doc Rivers and President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey expressed their confidence in the young guard.
“He’s the most impressive young player I’ve ever had, in 21 years of training,” Rivers said on the Vince Carter Show podcast. “His work ethic, Vince, is beyond belief. Several times already this summer, already two or three times, we had to tell him to go sit somewhere and go relax.
During his rookie season, Maxey averaged 8.0 points, 2.0 assists, and 1.7 rebounds per game, shooting 46 percent from the field and 30 percent from three-pointers.
He made a huge leap in the second year, averaging 17.5 points, 4.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 49% from the field and 43% on three-pointers.
“I think other people are telling me they trust me, which only boosts my confidence,” Maxey said. “My confidence comes from just being in the gym, working out every day, watching a movie, and then being successful on the pitch, so for Morey to have confidence in me and my teammates, as well that in the organization, it’s just I want to go out there and give it my all.
Maxey hasn’t spent much time away from the field this offseason. But Saturday’s camp was a day to show the kids how to have fun and remind them to never miss their goals.
“Not all of us will have the chance to play in the NBA,” Maxey said. “Some may be doctors, lawyers, police or firefighters. I want to show them that they are the best they can be at their job and that they work for it every day.