Hoop Dreams

I was blindsided. You know that feeling; that one breathless moment of having the wind knocked out of you. I never saw the hit coming and I’ll never forget the pain. During my 8th grade year, my basketball team went on a perfect undefeated regular season. We were the favorites to win the championship game against heavy rival Bruner Middle School. My father was in remission from leukemia. He missed the majority of my games due to his chemotherapy treatments, so it was only right for him not to miss my final game. He was my number one fan. In spite of the doctor’s orders, telling him he should stay home and rest would have been like trying to stop a bull from charging a red flag. My daddy was blinded from the consequences because he made up in his mind to see his little girl play. Friday night came and the small middle school gym was packed out along with people standing on the walls. Yet, for some particular reason, beyond all the excitement and anxiety of the game, deep down I knew something was not right. We lost that game at the buzzer by one point; the pursuit of a perfect season crushed.

That hurt was only a fraction of what I was about to lose.

Not even 36 hours after losing my championship game, I lost my hero. My daddy died Sunday morning from an infection he caught most likely from being at my basketball game. I was blind sided again; hit by a blow so hard I became paralyzed from the sudden shock. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I questioned everything…my faith, my purpose, my gift of basketball, my dreams… I wanted to play professional basketball and my dad was the reason behind it all. It seemed without him I had nothing, because he believed in me.

I knew giving up would not be the thing my dad wanted so I kept playing. I kept grinding through the difficult days and even the joyous days because he was not there to celebrate with me. I never thought I would look back all these years so thankful for all of the experiences in my life and how far I have come. God allowed me to live my dreams through overcoming what seemed like impossibilities. I know what it’s like to have a dream that you want so bad that it keeps you focused and working when no one else sees you. You wonder if all the work will one day pay off. Most importantly, I had people to come into my life and take me under their wings. Family, friends, coaches, and teachers..they believed in me and prayed for me even when I couldn’t do those things for myself.

I want to do the same for others. This scholarship is dedicated to my dad, Jack Kelly, to help fund high school girl basketball players that have hoop dreams. Out of nearly 500,000 girl high school basketball players in the nation, only 6.4% make it to play any level of college basketball. Less than 1 percent go on to play professional basketball. Although the stats may seem daunting and against you, it’s not impossible. Sometimes, all it takes is one moment of a person believing in another to see a dream come to reality. This scholarship will help fund a high school girl during the summer to pay for camps, summer league, travel, etc. Right now it is limited to one player but we will look to expand the scholarship as it continues to grow. If you would like to know more and even be a part by donating, please click the link below. Thanks for your time family. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

Jack Kelly Scholarship Fund — Nicci Kelly, LLC




  1. Wow Nicci I’m overjoyed with so many emotions that I can’t even put them into words… What a VISION that is resonating in your SOUL! I’m soooo proud of you…keep the FAITH and hold on to your DREAMS for the spirit of the Lord is upon you! So many little girls and others will be Blessed by your STORY and “Hoop Dreams 8″…I can’t wait to contribute to Your Vision. Love Always, Uncle Tank ❤️🏀😌

    Liked by 1 person

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