Blazers guard CJ McCollum tips off another year of his basketbal - KPTV - FOX 12

Blazers guard CJ McCollum tips off another year of his basketball camp in Beaverton

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Back from his trip to Africa with the NBA and UNICEF, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum was giving back to the community Tuesday afternoon.

Training camp for McCollum and the Blazers begins September 24. But like everyone else, McCollum is trying to soak up all that is left of summer break, and he did that by going to his youth basketball camp.

"Teach the fundamentals and provide an atmosphere and a situation where kids can look forward to something in the summer," said McCollum.

This is the fourth year of the CJ McCollum Basketball Camp. It began Tuesday at Beaverton Hoop YMCA.

"I know what it's like to want to go to a camp and not be able to afford it," McCollum said.

Fifty campers were from the Blazers' Boys & Girls Club with a golden ticket for free entry and inclusion courtesy of McCollum.

"I think it's important where everyone has advantages. Everybody has different situations and they can't help how they were raised, how they grew up, and they can't help the situation they are in," said McCollum.

The soon-to-be 26-year-old recently returned from Africa where he played in an NBA exhibition in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

McCollum hooped it up with Basketball Without Borders and helped build homes with UNICEF in Ethiopia.

"It's a unique experience to where you appreciate life that much more and you see how happy people are with little," said McCollum. 

McCollum was in Africa on business and pleasure, taking in an African safari.

"I've seen a leopard climb a tree, stash an animal in a tree and then eat it," said McCollum. "Like, skull, everything. It was insane."

Hungry for life, McCollum has to ditch his guilty pleasure of French fries as his pre-training camp diet plan kicks in.

"I try to do 80/20. Eighty percent clean and then I try to eat some of my favorites. You can't be perfect," McCollum said.

McCollum and the Blazers tip-off their six-game preseason on October 3 in Portland against the Phoenix Suns.

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