Robert Covington is a man with many nicknames. There’s so many that he can’t even keep track of them, so he just lets the fans go wild.
Covington is about to enter his fourth season in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers and has become one of the fan favorites. This summer, he has helped out at the Wilson Swiss Allstar Basketball Camp in Switzerland and has even hosted his own camp in his hometown of Chicago.
We caught up with Covington to talk about those camps and, of course, Sixers things.
SLAM: So you were in Switzerland for a camp not too long ago. How did that go, man?
Robert Covington: It went really nice. I was a guest at a big European camp, the Wilson Swiss Allstar Basketball Camp. They’ve been doing it for years and one of my teammates from college reached out to me about it and said that they’re looking for a guest speaker. Someone looking to come in and talk to the kids and whatnot. I was up for the opportunity. I’ve never been out of the country besides to Asia, so I added that to my international travel.
SLAM: Besides guest speaking, what else did you do?
RC: I interacted with the kids at the camp. I played in two all-star games and just put on a show for the kids because not too many kids get to see guys like that. We had a good time.
SLAM: I heard you said it was an eye-opening experience. How so?
RC: Just everything over there. The culture, the people, the way everybody talked, just the whole experience. Cars over there are old and amazing. It’s ridiculous over there and the people are so friendly, so it was a good experience for me. I really enjoyed it.
SLAM: You just hosted your first youth camp in Chicago, right?
SLAM: How did that go?
RC: It was an amazing turnout for my first one. I had about 150 kids that showed up and it turned out really nice. We did combine testing for the high school kids. We did skills and drills. We had different teams. I had coaches that coached ’em up and we allowed them to play games in a tourney. At the end of the second day, we had more games and then we had an all-star game for the two divisions that we had: the NCAA team and the NBA team.
SLAM: How was it trying to organize it?
RC: My mother was the one who organized it. I allowed her to do it because she’s always talking about how she needs something to do. So I let her put everything together and she got the schedule. She coordinated everything and she had people who helped like my brothers and my financial advisor. There was a lot of people that really helped make this all happen, and I’m really fortunate to have the people that I have behind me to be a part of this journey.
SLAM: Growing up, did you ever attend a camp like the one you hosted?
RC: I’ve only been to two camps in my life. There was one going into my senior year of college and one going into my senior year of high school.
SLAM: Which ones were those?
RC: The one in high school was the Five-Star Basketball Camp and then my senior year of college was the adidas Nations.
SLAM: How does that feel to be able to host and help out with these camps?
RC: Man, just to have the opportunity to be a part of those things and give back to kids, it’s something that I love to do. Like, I love making an impact on kids’ lives. I do a lot of things here in Philly. We do a lot of camps with the team. I really enjoy doing them because you never know that interaction with that kid can be life-changing and it can really spark some things.
SLAM: Let’s jump over to the Sixers. You got Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons coming in. How does the team look with those guys?
RC: So far, just from the things I’ve seen, the guys are looking really good. Once we get this thing rolling, I can’t wait to see what all we’re capable of because there’s a lot that’s growing, and it’s just a matter of time before it all gets put together.
SLAM: From your perspective, how did it feel when Sam Hinkie stepped down as general manager?
RC: It was a little sad. Sam was the one that gave me an opportunity, but we understood why. When he wrote that letter, it really meant a lot because it obviously lets you know the impact, you know, he doing something right. It was something different, but the team is very young, very athletic, but we have a great group of guys as far as a whole unit. The things that he has put into place, it put us in the position we’re at now. You got through rough times, but a lot of it can change over time.
SLAM: In your eyes, what has to happen to turn a 10-72 record around in the right direction?
RC: We’ve been in games. It’s just a matter of us finishing, but that’s one part of being a pro. We’re very young, so that’s one thing we have to get together and understand. Once we do that, the possibilities are endless. It’s been a transition so far. We’ve learned a lot and we’ve been through a lot. We kept each other together and nobody ever pointed any fingers or did anything crazy. We understand that we’re a young unit and tough times was coming, but we fought each and every night. And not one time can we say that we didn’t leave it all on the court.
SLAM: So I’ve seen all these nicknames for you. You have Sir Covington, Bobby Buckets, RC33. What is your official nickname, man?
RC: There’s so many. I can’t even put it in place, because I hear them all the time. So, I can’t even answer that one [laughs]. If I see people throughout the city, there’s always different ones. It’s never the same. The two most the I hear, though, is Bobby Buckets and RoCo. RC33 is right behind it. I have an assortment of nicknames that people call me.
SLAM: Which one is your favorite?
RC: I don’t know. I can’t even pick one. That’s a tough one, man.
Photos courtesy of Getty
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