All it takes is one good example for people to figure out that it’s never too late to learn something new.
Brandon Bass, a current forward for the Boston Celtics, took to the pool at the local Boys & Girls Club to finally learn how to swim. The 29-year-old who is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana is not your average swimming student. But since his young son (Brandon Jr.) and toddler daughter were getting used to the pool, he figured it was time for him to learn, too.
In a video posted by Bleacher Report, you can see the 6’8”, 260-pound athlete doing a cannon ball into the water, using a kickboard, and splashing in the water in an attempt to learn how to float or tread water—two things Bass has admitted he wasn’t previously able to do. This particular video was taken during his fifth swim lesson at the Boston Sports Club Swim Academy in hopes that children and adults in the area will learn how to swim and assign adequate importance to water safety.
His first lesson (depicted in the embedded video above) shows Brandon taking a lesson with a group of ten-year-olds who shout“Brandon! Brandon! Brandon!” as he swims to his instructor and then turns to float on his back.
Brandon Bass took lessons with the 10-year-olds at the Boys & Girls Club as long as his schedule would permit and then commenced with private lessons. Aside from his son, Bass decided to swim because he has a pool and a lake behind his house in Orlando where he and his family live in the offseason.
“I’m surrounded by water, so I think it’d be smart to learn how to swim.”
In an interview with The Boston Globe, Bass admitted to having his own fears surrounding water.
“I’m nervous because I don’t know how to float,” he said. “I can’t tread water [either].”
He wants to show children that they don’t need to be afraid of the water. Having grown up in Baton Rouge and not having access to a pool, Brandon along with his brother, parents, and majority of his neighborhood never learned how to swim. When he was little, a neighbor his age drowned and the memory always stayed with him.
Boston, too, has had its fair share of drowning incidents. There was a drowning death in 2011 that triggered the Boys & Girls Club in the area to do their best to teach swimming survival techniques to the kids in inner-city Boston. In the fall of 2011, the staff at the Boston Boys & Girls Club conducted swim tests on 2,344 children between the ages of 6-18. Almost 70% of those children failed.
The sad fact is that minority children are more likely than white children to drown—the second leading cause of death among children under 14. According to the USA Swimming Foundation, 70% of black children and 60% of Hispanic children don’t know how to swim. That number for white children is around 40%.
Since his family is around water so much in their Orlando home, Bass wanted his children to learn to at least float.
In the Deadspin video, Brandon Bass learns to swim as instructor Tatiana cheers him on, saying “He will learn how to swim, definitely.”
The comment section of the video may have even even established a new nickname for the Celtic: “Sea Bass.”
It’s great that a grown man isn’t worried about looking silly in a pool and is more concerned about setting a good example for the children in the community. Swimming is such an important skill for everyone to have, regardless of whether or not they live near a major body of water.
And after his fifth lesson, Bass feels confident enough to declare, “I can swim!” Although he tentatively added under his breath, “…a little bit.”