Pistons' Langston Galloway thinking of others on his return to Louisiana
New Orleans — Birthdays typically are a time to receive gifts and appreciation. Pistons guard Langston Galloway sees it a little differently.
It’s a time to give — and give back.
As Galloway celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday, the same day the Pistons were set to play the New Orleans Pelicans, the circumstances aligned for him to make it a special day for himself and others.
Galloway, a native of Baton Rouge, was expecting about 50 family members from his hometown, but he also invited a big group of high school students from some groups that he’s involved with to watch the game, as well.
“It’s like 50 (tickets) that I know of right now; that could probably rise up to 100 really fast,” Galloway said after Monday morning’s practice at Smoothie King Center. “I have 30 to 50 kids coming, from YEP NOLA, Son of a Saint and College Track.”
The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) is a program that uses community-based education and mentoring to help underserved youths in the New Orleans area. Son of a Saint is aimed at helping young boys in New Orleans who don’t have a father in the household, and College Track provides resources for high school students to reach college and make the adjustment.
Since he entered the NBA after going undrafted in 2014, Galloway has strived to give back to the communities in each of the cities he has played: New York, New Orleans, Sacramento and Detroit through the Langston Galloway Foundation.
Making an impact in New Orleans has been a priority after Galloway went to college at Saint Joseph’s and was able to give back once he got to the NBA.
“I remember when I was coming through high school, there were many kids more talented than me, especially in sports, but in the classroom too,” Galloway said. “When I was able to get my scholarship and leave and go off to school, there were so many kids left behind.
“I feel like it’s (the African-American proverb), ‘Each one teach one,’ and to reach back and grab those kids who really need that assistance. Bringing my teammates and myself around the kids means a lot, because a lot of people can’t do that. I love being face-to-face with them and doing whatever I can.”
Community involvement is more than just writing a check and posing for a few pictures. He’s made it a priority to give back and to talk to young men and help them understand that getting to the NBA takes hard work.
Getting to college, though, is a more reasonable plan, with the right direction.
And that direct impact is felt.
“It’s great to have Langston involved. A lot of boys aspire to be athletes and look up to professional players,” said Chris Musco, program manager at Son of a Saint. “It’s important to have someone who is a pro athlete and can show you how to do it the right way and show that there are other options like college and how that ties into the future.
“He’s able to engage with boys and show them the right way how to do things. Following Langston Galloway throughout his career, he seems to have done things the right way; he’s never in trouble and no media madness.”
Galloway’s example is a benefit to the young men at Son of a Saint.
“We require that our boys do service hours and give back to the community,” Musco said. “You never know what struggles you’re going to have and you need to give back.”
Playing on his birthday could be a good harbinger for Galloway, who has done it twice in his NBA career. Last year, he scored a season-high 24 points — in Detroit against the Pelicans — and made four 3-pointers.
“It’s truly a dream come true to play on your birthday. To play at home (just adds to it),” Galloway said. “When I was in high school, we played on my birthday once or twice. It’s special. To be where I am in the NBA and to be able to play on my birthday, it’s a whole different excitement.”
It’ll be exciting for Galloway and for his family and a group of young men.