Rolling Out

Atlanta Hawks forward Saddiq Bey plays giant hero to young students

The appearance was Bey’s 1st as a Hawk

STONE MOUNTAIN, Georgia – Saddiq Bey got the opportunity to give back on March 16. In his first official community service event since being traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 9, the sharpshooter visited the SCANA Energy Homework Center at Stone Mill Elementary School in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

In between sets of assisting the students in dribbling exercises and drills, Bey spoke to rolling out about giving back and adjusting to his new home in Atlanta.

What has your first community service event in metro Atlanta been like?

It’s been great. It’s a blessing to be able to play with these kids and be able to help them with their skills. They teach me a lot here at the SCANA Energy Homework Center, so I’m just grateful to be here and blessed. I’m just taking it all in.

You can see these students light up every time you speak to them, and standing at 6-foot-7, you’re literally a giant in their eyes. What’s it like to bring that joy by being present?

I was once in those students’ shoes when I was a kid. I think it’s important to be able to give them words of encouragement. A lot of these kids have aspirations and dreams to be the best they can be. I wanted to continue to encourage them or support them in whatever they wanted to do. I think it means a lot.

How has the city of Atlanta been so far?

It’s been great. From the people, the community, the staff, the weather, everything’s going great here, and I’m just excited to be able to put on a Hawks jersey and be able to represent the city. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Maddy Siegrist, who plays for your alma mater, Villanova, was just named an AP first-team All-American. What is your message to her?

She was there when I was there. We came in around the same time. She deserves to be, I think, Player of the Year, but she’s first-team All-American. She deserves that. She’s been a grinder since she’s been there. One of the greatest players in college basketball history. So I think is just a testament to the work that she’s put in.

It’s Women’s History Month. Who were the women who helped shape you?

She means the world to me, my mom, first and foremost. She was my role model when I was a little kid. She helped put the ball in my hands, she was tough on me on and off the court. A lot of this is a credit to her and the sacrifices that she made for me. I’m grateful for her and my sister; all the women that have been a part of my life.

New Hawks coach Quin Snyder appears to be emphasizing shooting more 3-pointers. As one of the best shooters on the team, how have you taken on that challenge?

I’m trying to be aggressive and trying to help the team in any way I can on both ends of the floor. I [am] try[ing] to take the load off some of the guys. Whatever the team needs from me, I’m excited to do.

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