Four-time EuroLeague champion Kyle Hines has enjoyed a special honor in his hometown of Sicklerville, New Jersey, this week before preparing to fly across the Atlantic to join EA7 Emporio Armani Milan for what will be his 14th consecutive season in the competition. Hines saw his jersey retired at his alma mater, Timber Creek Regional High School, where he was a part of the first class of students when school opened in 2001.
'Kyle Hines is a miracle'
A mother's emotional memories
The most emotional moment of the ceremony was Hines's mother, Deidre Ledgister, recounting that she had lost one child already before doctors had told her she was unlikely to bring her latest pregnancy to term, either. But born Hines was, or course, two-and-a-half months premature, although his severely bowed legs led doctors to then tell his mother that he might not ever walk properly.
"They wanted to break my son's legs to straighten his legs out," she said. "They said even if they do that, he's probably not even going to walk properly.
"Every time that boy ran across the floor, every time he passed the ball, every time he took a rebound, every time he made a dunk, that was like amazing, because he was not supposed to be able to do any of that.
"So Kyle Hines is not only a special person. Kyle Hines is a miracle."
Hines Academy gives back to the community
Hines's connection to the community where he grew up has been constant even as he traveled the globe to star in the EuroLeague and started his own family. He started the Team Hines Basketball Academy in 2011 in his hometown of Sicklerville and spends weeks there each summer helping to develop young players. The academy has served more than 2,000 young players over the years and is built on six principles – integrity, competence, personal conduct, respect, responsibility and athlete's interest – that any EuroLeague fan who has watched him will recognize immediately in Hines himself.