RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- More than 1,000 youngsters waited in line to fill up their backpacks with brand new school supplies on Saturday at the 12th annual LeVelle Moton and PJ Tucker Back to School Community Day at the Raleigh Boys and Girls Club.
"I got all my crayons, my books and my colored pencils," said Alijah Crawford.
"It's always a tremendous turnout," said Moton, the head basketball coach at North Carolina Central. "When I got here at 9:30, the line was wrapped around the corner. Every year has been that. It's great to see people are still coming out and still being actively involved in the community. I think we missed all of this due to COVID, and we took all precautionary measures, so it was a great event."
Along with school supplies, haircuts and entertainment, the event also provided COVID-19 vaccinations for those in need.
"If COVID hasn't shown us anything, it's shown us that we're all one curveball away from rocky times and hardships," Moton said. "In this community, a lot of times people have been marginalized and some people have caught bad breaks, so we wanted to provide any medical assistance that we could possibly provide for them."
Tanika Byrd, who went to high school with Tucker, brought her children to the event so they could see firsthand that Moton and Tucker, who just won an NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks, were once kids just like them living in Raleigh -- she says having that representation matters.
"I think it's very important because you know when they see things on TV it's not reality," she said. "When they see it in the flesh they can have a sense of hope and think that they can be that way, too."
Moton has always stayed true to his roots.
"We don't have no choice," Moton said. "This is where we're from, we grew up here. If we don't come back here there's nowhere for us to go. Ya, it's cool we live a certain lifestyle and we're around a different demographic right now. but it's nothing that feels like coming back home."