The Inner City Revolution

The life of an inner city kid is intriguing. To be raised in an area that lacks economic stability and contains social adversity can muster up a recipe that hinders the future of a student who otherwise has academic and athletic potential for success. Blindness to one’s self worth is a real detriment for the inner city kid. Coach Douglas Bibby strives to overcome this as the leader of  Central High School’s boys basketball team.

“The biggest obstacle is to get these guys from the inner city to believe in themselves. It starts with recognizing your self worth. The biggest obstacle is to show them some positive things and how great they can be. Sometimes they fear success, sometimes they don’t understand success, and they don’t recognize success. A lot of these kids are very talented, very smart, and can be very successful in life. You want to get them to understand that you can make it in college and be successful. I want them to realize that before they graduate high school.”

Photo by Randy Whetstone Jr. | Contributing Photographer

Photo by Randy Whetstone Jr. | Contributing Photographer

Bibby who grew up in Richmond, Virginia and Maryland played college basketball for Hampton University. He is the first cousin of retired NBA player Mike Bibby. Coach Bibby has had the chance to expose his players to professional athletes; one being NBA star and former Kentucky guard Rajon Rondo. Camp Rondo is a basketball camp run through Bibby and Rondo. This camp is held annually.

Coach Bibby has coached at Central for 10 years. Located in the downtown area of Louisville, he looks to fight the stigma attached to the life of an inner city student. To his players, he models leadership. He uses basketball in an effort to work on his players’ characters.

“I can dangle that basketball carrot. I hope they look at my work ethic, how I approach everyday, not just from a basketball perspective, but from a business perspective and from a family perspective. [I hope] that they can take from that and be better individuals. First, I try to make them good individuals. Second, I try to make them good team players. Third, I try to create a good basketball player. But you can’t make a good basketball player without those two staples initially. So that’s how I approach coaching, and I hope that’s how those guys see me as they coach.”

Highly talented basketball players coming out of eighth grade may not select Central as a primary option, when schools like Ballard, Male, Trinity, and Manual have their doors wide open. One of the founding principles for Bibby in coaching is to create a culture of discipline. His philosophy to coaching is, “Don’t start with basketball. In order to be a great player you have to be a great person. You have to have a good work ethic, you have to have drive, and you have to have discipline. That’s just not on the court, that’s off the court and how you carry yourself as an individual.”

Bibby says the inner city kid faces a lot of adversity. With trials and tribulations such as lack of financial resources to get ACT training or to pay for college, or not coming from two parent homes. These students have to work harder. He explains to his players that adversity is not a set back and that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. His memorable life message of, “10 percent of life is things that happen to you. The other 90 percent is how you handle that 10 percent,” is cherished by his players.

“For [inner city kids] it’s not how hard you can hit, but it’s how hard you get hit and [are able to keep] moving. For the inner city kid, they take a lot of blows. They can withstand those blows and adversity. If they can stay strong and listen to some of the things that I am teaching them, they can be successful young men.”

As Coach Douglas Bibby continues to revolutionize the inner city player, he is filled with joy when he is able to see the fruits of his labor. When asked what his biggest joy is in coaching, he said, “When they actually grow up and become young men, and for them to come back and say ‘thank you.’ That’s the biggest joy in coaching, for them to come back and appreciate that. That’s the biggest paycheck I can receive, that I affected a young man’s life in that way. That makes me feel good, because that’s what my father did for me.” VT