Editor’s note: Because Purpose2Play has been telling the stories of athletes, coaches, and fans for more than three years, we figure it’s about time to catch up with some of them to find out where they are now. As you’ll see, they’re still inspiring others and making the world a better place to live in.
Where Are They Now? Catching Up with Isaiah Lamb (“Isaiah Lamb Focuses On Basketball Future, Finding Ways To Help Others” published in 2015)
Isaiah Lamb received national attention when he was profiled by Sports Illustrated as part of their “Homeless Athletes” cover story. Then a 6-foot-5-inch basketball prospect who was drawing eyes from division I schools, Lamb landed squarely on the cover of the nation’s top sports magazine because he and his parents were homeless for three years.
Lamb’s father lost his job in 2011 when he suffered a heart attack. His mom came down with pneumonia and missed out on paychecks. Eventually, the family lost their home and were forced to live in their car and find shelter in laundromats.
However, no one, not even their six adult children, knew what was going on. We spoke with Isaiah during his senior year at Dulaney High School in Timonium, Maryland. His family had just gotten back on their feet and settled into an apartment. His dad was working at Panera Bread and his mom was working as a nurse. Meanwhile, Isaiah was excelling on the basketball court and had he sights set on college life.
Then what happened?
NY Bound For Hoops
Several big name schools were locked in on Isaiah after the Sports Illustrated article came out. They figured not only could he play ball, but he could thrive amid adversity. Unfortunately, Isaiah tore his ACL and meniscus in the middle of his senior year. That’s when the division I schools backed off, except Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. They were still all in.
“I committed to Marist because they were so loyal,” Isaiah said. “They showed that they wanted me even though I was injured. They believed I was going to overcome the injury.”
And that he did. After surgery, he worked hard to rehab his knee and improve his game. He ended up playing in 29 games with 22 starts and averaged 7.8 points per game which was fourth-best on the team. Not bad for a freshman coming off a knee injury.
His sophomore season saw similar numbers, but he was feeling more comfortable on the court.
“I had my confidence back, and I was able to focus more on my game rather than on re-injuring my knee.”
Off the court, Isaiah is putting his full-ride scholarship to good use, majoring in business and human resources, and pulling in a 3.0 GPA.
Now 20 years old, and halfway through college, he’s looking toward the future.
“After graduation, I’d like to continue playing basketball either overseas, or if I get the chance, go to the NBA,” he said. “After that, I’m looking to try to go back to school so I can get into a nursing program. That’s something I’ve been really interested in since I was little because my mom’s a nurse.”
Standing Tall In His Story
As a busy student-athlete, no one would bat an eye if Isaiah didn’t have time for volunteer work. But, that’s exactly what he’s trying to load up his plate with in the future.
He contacted a group in Harlem called Stand Tall, which provides physical therapy and health-related services to people who are homeless in NYC.
Although he hasn’t had the time to travel to Harlem yet, he’s been working with the organization’s directors to become more involved.
“We’re talking about how to get more people at Marist involved,” Isaiah said. “We’re going to try and fundraise to get backpacks, toothbrushes and deodorant for the homeless.”
He also plans to utilize his communications minor, and tell his story to those who utilize Stand Tall’s resources.
“I’m going to tell them that nothing lasts forever and better days are coming,” he said. “I’ll tell them to keep fighting and never give up. It’s okay to talk to people about your situation. They’re the ones that can help support you as you work your way out.”
And, according to Isaiah, there’s always a way out.