Just seven games into the 2000-2001 basketball season, Flint Central guard David McGhee’s world unexpectedly took a new turn.
A tragic day in practice would forever change his outlook on the community.
It also helped him to find his purpose in life.
After tearing ligaments in his right ankle during a team workout, McGhee was sidelined for the rest of his senior season and forced to use crutches.
Although he didn’t have any official college offers on the table at that point, schools like Chicago State University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Eastern Kentucky University were showing strong interest in his talents.
“Basketball was my life, it was my tool, but mentoring became so important to me in my senior year,” said McGhee, a three-year varsity player for the Indians.
“I tore ligaments in my ankle so the college and recruiting letters started slowing down and at the end of the school year I still had an opportunity to go play college ball, but it just wasn’t at the same level that I would have had when I first started my senior year because I was injured.”
“At that point in my life, there were mentors that came around me,” he added. “They said that you will do more with your brains than you will ever do with a basketball and they were able to encourage me and get me through that process.”
He took their advice.
At 28 year old, McGhee has now become one of Flint’s most ambitious community leaders.
For the past six years, McGhee has worked incessantly with the at-risk youth in the area as a program coordinator for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in public administration and public policy from Oakland University, McGhee furthered his education at Central Michigan University.
He acquired his master’s degree in administration and interned at Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s office, but took a strong interest in the Flint community rather than expanding on a job for the government.
McGhee was recently profiled for his efforts in Black Gives Back’s “Black Men & Boys series.”
Black Gives Back is an online publication that spotlights African Americans around the country for their philanthropy and charitable giving. BGB has been around since 2007.
McGhee was interviewed for a feature in a post on Monday, April 23.
His primary discussion concerned mentoring and raising black boys.
“Our organization is made up of the people that deliver the service, and (David) is an excellent representative for us,” said Reta Stanley, the President/CEO at BBBS of Greater Flint. “It’s really cool to connect with other organizations that are doing like work. Those collaborations are really the buzz words that are out there, so the Black Gives Back is huge for us.”
McGhee considers himself to be a “man of God” so the spotlight is not what he’s in search of by doing his line of work.
Although McGhee doesn’t seek out the fame, the attention seems to find him.
He was the guest speaker for the all-city commencement ceremony last June in the Perani Arena and was honored by Flint Mayor Dayne Walling with “David McGhee Day” in 2011.
He continues to use the advice he learned from his childhood mentors during his dark period without basketball and share it with others.
His next goal is to continue to help the 100 Men 100 Boys Program in Michigan flourish. This program was designed to help match 100 male mentors annually with kids between the ages of 6-17 who are unguided.
In November of 2011, the BBBS of Greater of Flint released its first hardcover book titled “100 Men 100 Boys – A Mentoring Program,” which chronicles the mentoring experience of the young boys who have been in the program.
McGhee has already exposed the kids to sports, nutrition, music, arts, culture and financial literacy but feels his work is not done until his energy is no longer needed.
“I really don’t focus on goals, I just focus on growth,” said McGhee. “I don’t have a destination, but ultimately if I had to answer how I would want to be remembered my legacy would just be just to become a voice for the voiceless. That’s it.”
The purpose of His Story is to tell the stories of Black Men young and old through videos and written work. Too often the story of Black Men is told by everyone else. His Story will be the catalyst to allow Black Men & Women to provide the positive contradiction to the prevailing Black male image of today.