Leon Powe may have another obstacle to overcome, but that hasn't stopped him from realizing there are others with their own set of roadblocks.
Powe, the former Oakland Tech High and Cal standout, has put on a basketball camp at Merritt College every summer since he joined the Boston Celtics in 2006. This year, it will be part of a bigger community event, "Fresh Start for Oakland." The festivities take place this weekend, with the camp Friday and Saturday and the Fresh Start event on Saturday. Several vendors, including Home Depot, Kaiser Permanente, Dreyers, Peet's and Yoshi's, will be donating services and products.
Powe will be on hand after flying back from Cleveland, where he is expected to sign a free-agent contract with the Cavaliers today. Powe flew to Cleveland on Tuesday to take a physical. ESPN reported Powe's expected to receive a two-year deal for $1.77 million.
Powe spent the first three seasons of his NBA career in Boston. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the playoffs last season and isn't expected to play until midseason.
"There are a lot of people in Oakland going through a lot, and they are counting on us," Powe said by phone Tuesday night. "We want to try to do things in the community just to bring people together. If we don't, I don't know who will."
In Cleveland, Powe will be reunited with superstar LeBron James. The two were teammates with the Oakland Soldiers AAU club team while
"I don't know if (James) had any input. I haven't talked to him," Powe said. "But I'm pretty sure he wanted me on the team."
Saturday's event was named after Powe's nonprofit organization, "Fresh Start Family Services." He started the foundation last year as a way to assist foster children in Oakland and surrounding communities.
"We're trying to bring the community together by doing this every year," Powe said. "We want to educate the kids. We don't want the focus to be only on basketball."
The basketball camp is for youths ages 7-17 and runs Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Cost is $40, and participants can register at www.leonpowecamps.com or in person.
Saturday's Fresh Start event is 10 a.m.-4 p.m., also at Merritt. Home Depot will be putting on build-it clinics for kids, Kaiser will feature an interactive booth about health, and Yoshi's and Peet's will put on a family jazz cafe. There also will be raffle prizes.
There will be several booths for various nonprofit organizations and live music throughout the day.
"We wanted to make it something fun to raise awareness," Fresh Start spokeswoman Jennifer Moilanen said. "People might know a little bit about being a foster parent, but not a lot. It's about getting people involved. You may not feel comfortable being a foster parent, but there are other ways to help. You could fit in somehow."