Bobby Portis – former Arkansas Razorbacks basketball player and current power forward for the Milwaukee Bucks – is returning to his hometown of Little Rock this weekend, July 29 – July 31, 2022, to raise support for his charity, The Bobby Portis Foundation.
In 2015, Portis was picked in the first round of the NBA draft, as No. 22. Earlier this summer, the NBA announced that Portis agreed to a four-year contract with the Bucks– a $49 million deal. Last year, Portis averaged a career-high of 9.1 rebounds and 14.6 points.
Portis, who has been playing basketball professionally for seven years, has set out to make his mark on his community and raise awareness about the struggles single mothers often face after being drafted in the NBA.
Growing up in a single-parent household, he knows on a personal level how hard single moms work.
“My mom was a single mom of four kids, and she worked as hard as she could to take care of us and give us everything we needed, even though we sometimes didn’t get what we wanted,” said Portis. “I’ve made it a mission to help single moms in Arkansas, and now that I’m locked in to Wisconsin, I plan on hopefully moving my efforts up to that area as well.”
As a Little Rock native, Portis is proud of where he comes from. “My all-time favorite thing about Arkansas is that it’s a small market, and it builds up a competitive spirit. There’s so many hard-working players and they fight for it every single day,” he said, adding how the environment of the state really allows players to focus on what they need to in order to accomplish their goals.
As an NBA Championship winner in 2021 (the second league championship for the Bucks), Portis has just as many goals for his career as he does for his Foundation.
“My long-term goal for the Foundation is essentially to be able to continue helping out single moms as much as we can. I want to raise as much awareness and money as possible for these single moms,” said Portis. “It’s so tough for single moms out there. On top of playing both roles, they have so much responsibility, and it can take a toll on you.”
Inspired by his own mom, Tina Edwards, Portis explained further how much he looks up to single moms.
“These women are so strong. I know– I’ve seen it and I love my mom dearly. She’s been there for me in all of the highs and lows I’ve had in life– not just on the court,” said Portis.
Portis hopes to be remembered as a man who works hard, is low maintenance and as someone who enjoys spreading his blessings throughout his community.
“I’m just a hard-working guy and I pride myself on being a good player and a good person,” he said.
Throughout the weekend, Portis will be hosting three events in Little Rock to support his Foundation.
The Basketball Camp will take place on Friday, where players can come learn from Portis himself. A bowling event will follow the camp on Friday evening. To register for the camp or bowling event, visit the event website.
“The camp is cool because you get to see how much players grow from year to year. This is the fifth year I’ve hosted this, and I love seeing similar faces and seeing the kids get bigger and better throughout the years,” said Portis.
In addition to giving back to the community that shaped him into the athlete and person he is today, Portis has two main pieces of advice to give young players:Run your own race, and sacrifice.
“In life, there’s always going to be highs and lows and adversity will hit at some point. You can’t worry about what other people have in life; there’s always going to be people who seem to have more than you, sooner than you, but you can’t let that stop your drive or limit your competitiveness. Run your own race,” he said.
“When you sacrifice things you want to do for things you need to do, you will become the best person and player you can be, and you’ll get more out of life. Aspire to be whatever you want, but make the sacrifices necessary to get there,” he added.
The Bobby Portis Foundation NBA Charity Basketball Game will be held for the first time since 2019 this Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased here.
“A few years ago we hosted this on a Sunday afternoon, but this year, we moved it to a Saturday night. We want to give Arkansas a more NBA-like atmosphere for the game,” explained.
The Lunch Gala will take place at the Little Rock Marriott Arkansas Ballroom, and will include an intimate gathering with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. To get tickets to the gala, click here.
“The gala is one of my and my mom’s favorite things to do. It gives everyone the chance to dress up, talk about some key things in the Foundation and our mission, and raise as much awareness about the Foundation as possible,” said Portis, adding that the afternoon is full of eating and talking, though not at the same time.
With a weekend packed full of charitable events, Little Rock will have plenty of opportunities to support a mission that means so much for the NBA star. Portis has made it a point to give back whenever he can, and basketball camps, galas and benefit games are all examples of how he actively does just that.
While playing basketball for the University of Arkansas, Portis accomplished several great things, including being named as a Wooden Award Final 15, an Associated Press SEC Player of the Year and more. According to the Arkansas men’s basketball website, Portis was the first player in program history with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds as a sophomore.
It is no secret that Bobby Portis loves where he comes from, or that he has an incredible story to tell, and he continues to emphasize how much Little Rock means to him, even as he resides in Wisconsin.
“I love my home city of Little Rock. Like I’ve said many times before, it is my pride and joy,” he said. “I just want to continue to be the man I am – a man who does all the things the right way – and hopefully I’ll continue to leave my mark on my city and a legacy in the NBA.”