Wizards forward Markieff Morris has a lot to look forward to next month besides the start of 2017-18 training camp in Richmond. Morris and his girlfriend are expecting a baby daughter, their first child, with a due date of Sept. 6. Morris has some time, but it will certainly require an adjustment.
Morris feels ready for the challenge.
"It’s just real chill right now. I try to keep her off her feet as much as possible and try to stay by her side," he said. "I'm getting ready for the kid and staying up all night... I'm a laid back-type of guy. I know she’s going to be chill and laid back like me. It can’t be too much."
Morris has been spending much of his offseason back home in Philadelphia along with his twin brother Marcus. They have been training for the new season, a regiment that has included boxing at a local gym. In Philly he recently held his second annual basketball camp and sixth annual backback giveaway.
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Morris was in D.C. over the weekend for another backback drive, his second annual giveaway in Southeast Washington. Morris arrived at the Ridge Road Community Center and exited a black Range Rover with fellow NBA player Thomas Robinson to a long line of kids and their parents. Inside were tables and tables of backpacks for all ages and both boys and girls. Morris, Robinson and Morris' family members each wore shirts and hats that read F.O.E. (Family Over Everything).
That's a fitting motto for what Morris was trying to accomplish with his charity venture.
"This is like a home to me. My mom is from here. My entire family is from the D.C. area. So, once I got here I knew right away that I had to get in the community," he said. "I just want to give back to the kids. They’re the future. I’m making sure they know that anything is possible. The city needs stuff like this, guys giving back and coming to the city.
"What we try to do is to try to do everything from the inside. We don’t look for sponsors, we aren’t looking for people to broadcast it. We do it on our own. My mom and my uncle actually run the whole thing. Everyone here running the camp is from the community here at the rec center or my family. We just try to keep it that way. We really don’t even want cameras here. We just do it for the kids and the community."
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Morris, 27, recalls going to Rasheed Wallace's basketball camp when he was a kid. He knows firsthand how meeting an NBA player can inspire a child with basketball dreams.
"I always remember it. I was at Rasheed Wallace’s camp. I think I was about 10 or 11 and I got to interact with him. That’s something that will stick with kids forever. They will never forget that when they get older," he said.
Morris has a lot on his mind these days, but he is heavily focused on getting back to work with the Wizards. He said their Game 7 loss to the Celtics still bothers him and that "I still feel like we're the better team." He thinks "every game is going to be like Game 7" against the Celtics, who now have his brother Marcus on their roster, this upcoming season.
As for what Morris hopes to improve on himself, he's got a few areas in mind.
"Just keep improving on the 3-point shot, scoring more and staying more consistent. I was a little up-and-down this year, but it’s a long season. You have to forget about the 20 games before and just be more consistent. Rebound the ball more and get a little bit more edge on my bones and muscles. I’m a pretty stiff-type guy, so I’ve gotta figure out how to get loose," he said.
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