The USA Basketball player tells PEOPLE how he hopes to inspire youth through his Second Round Foundation
New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson has had a packed summer, but he doesn’t mind his busy schedule if it means helping others.
Before the newlywed athlete, 26, began training for the FIBA World Cup in Asia, he hosted a charity golf tournament near his hometown in Illinois to benefit his Second Round Foundation, an organization that aims to support the next generation’s dreams through academics, sports, and outreach.
Between training camp and tying the knot with his high school sweetheart Ali Marks in the same month-span, Brunson tells PEOPLE he enjoys being someone “people can rely on” even when his schedule gets busy.
“I’m a person who loves to keep people involved. I want to be a great leader, and I want be able to be a person that people can rely on, whether it’s on or off the court,” he says.
Second Round’s name comes from “being drafted in the second round and always kind of being overlooked,” Brunson tells PEOPLE.
He explains, “I just wanted to give people, preferably the younger kids and younger adults, that mindset of no matter what people think or say about you, it’s all about how your mindset and how you attack every situation.”
Currently, Brunson is preparing for the upcoming FIBA World Cup in Asia, which tips off on Aug. 25 and runs through Sept. 10. — an honor not lost on the Knicks star.
“Obviously, I play in the NBA, and it’s a lot of younger kids’ dreams to play in the NBA, but for me, my job here is to help you get that mindset. I think the biggest takeaway from this camp should be that your mindset going forward is to attack anything that you do with 110%.”