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Remembering Kelvin Hicks: A Teammate's Tribute of a Life Lived Fully

Updated on July 2, 2014

Inspired by Special K Praise

Since hearing the abundant expressions of love and Special K praises at the standing room only home-going services for Kelvin Hicks, All-Star amazing man on the basketball courts and in life, I’ve been inspired to keep his legacy alive through various postings portraying the legend, life and legacy of this humble, loving, gentle giant, who cared greatly for his friends, family, youth and communities. His love and selflessness was such that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz decreed January 23 "Kelvin Hicks Memorial Day."

The following tribute was written and shared at the January, 23, 2013 Wake service by teammate Clyde Doughty, Jr., current Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) where I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting them both.

NYIT Family
NYIT Family | Source
Kelvin back in the community at his childhood playground in Lefferts Park.
Kelvin back in the community at his childhood playground in Lefferts Park. | Source
Youth Council Director Kelvin Hicks and his Vannguard Urban Improvement Center co-workers.
Youth Council Director Kelvin Hicks and his Vannguard Urban Improvement Center co-workers. | Source

Clyde's "Kelvin Hicks" Tribute

"For those of us who have had the opportunity to fly, we understand the beauty of one of those jumbo aircraft that take folks from point A to point B. Kelvin Hicks was our 747; he was a strong individual that took me and my teammates, and all of the NYIT family, on one of the greatest journeys we will ever experience. From the time he took off from Lefferts Park to his landing, he quietly lead by example showing all of us how to fly over fear, deal with inequality, how to be responsible & respectful, how to deal with life in joyful times and manage it during adversity. His flight was one of elegance and grace; it was a pure artistic delight. I never tire of hearing about his athletic abilities from his childhood days in tournaments throughout the city. I took pleasure in telling my own stories of his feats because Kelvin would never ever talk about them: He was always modest, reserved and patient and he always let his actions speak louder than his words. Whenever I or my teammates would get out of hand he was always there to put us back on course.

Special K enjoyed a good time; getting him to the good time was the challenge, however when he got there he was truly engaged and would blend in smoothly with his calming presence and mild mannered Superman like approach. Our college coach, Sam Stern, could not be here today because he is in Florida dealing with health issues of his own. He wanted me to convey his sincere condolences to the Hicks family and all of his former players present here tonight. His fondest memory of Kelvin was not any moves he made on the court but the time they spent together talking about old movies, actors, producers, directors and even screenplay writers. I would hear their banter while traveling on long bus trips to and from games and would always wonder how Kelvin knew all of that at such a young age. What I did not realize at the time is that it showed the magnitude of his mind and his mature grasp on life. Kelvin and Sam had a wonderful relationship.

Having traveled from Brooklyn Technical HS with Kelvin to NYIT in 1976; shipped there by our HS coach Shelly Schneider, we quickly made the adjustments to the Long Island environment but were blessed to be able to get home on the Silver Stretch, better known as the Long Island Railroad, when we had to. Coach Schneider understood our family commitments and found a college that allowed us to escape the city but close enough to be in arms reach. His decision and foresight allowed us to become the men we became and it provided us with a strong foundation that we stood upon.

In closing, Kelvin’s life after basketball is also extremely profound. His ability to associate with, motivate and nurture young men and women who needed reassurance, love and attention is probably his greatest quality. He was a sincere person who believed in his fellow human being. I have often been told that I am a royal pain in the neck and can piss off a few folks, BUT in all of my years with Kelvin I have never ever heard anyone, LET ME REPEAT, anyone say a negative word about him. He was a Saint, a true humanitarian, a friend, brother, a class act, but above all he was simply Kelvin Hicks, a person who lived life to the fullest, enjoyed family and friends and a person who left it all on the court and in this community."

In, honor, love and respect,

Clyde Doughty, Jr.

Final Reflections

I met Kelvin as a freshman at NYIT and had the biggest crush on this sweet seemingly larger-than-life, superstar giant. As a member of the Booster Squad, I had the pleasure of cheering him and the team on and traveling to the away games. I ran into him once, post-college in 2002 on the train platform at Broadway Junction in Brooklyn, and now feel a little saddened that I lost contact and the privilege of knowing the matured beautiful spirit and humanitarian that he became.

Born May 28, 1958 – January 9, 2013, Kelvin Hicks lived a full passionate purposed-filled life in excellence. Rest in peace my friend, you did well!

Be blessed,

Jo Anne Meekins,
Inspired4U Blog


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