Though his team may soon be dropping to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass would prefer not to do the same at the local pool. So at the age of 28, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Bass is finally learning to swim.
According to the Boston Globe, Bass has been volunteering his time lately to help children conquer their fear of the water, but really, the exercise is as much for him as it is for them.
“My son’s the first one in the family to learn how to swim,” Bass told the Globe. “If you threw me out in the ocean, I would drown.”
On Friday, Bass took his first lesson, along with 10 kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Boston at the Boston Sports Club swimming pool in Waltham, Mass.
In its report, the Globe cites the USA Swimming Foundation, which says 70 percent of black children, 60 percent of Hispanic children and 40 percent of white children don’t know how to swim. The group also notes that drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 14.
Bass, a native of Baton Rouge, La., grew up without a place to swim, according to the Globe, and the drowning death of a neighbor has haunted him since his childhood.
These days, Bass owns an offseason lake home with a pool in Orlando, Fla., and uses a Jet Ski with his son, 6-year-old Brandon, Jr., whom he says “swims like a bass fish.” Additionally, his 20-month-old daughter, Bella, can already float.
Now hopefully Bass will soon be able to do the same.
“Even if you don’t want to swim,” Bass told the Globe, “it’s important to learn in case you need to.”