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    Default Eric Gordon gives back to Indy through his camp (

    Eric Gordon gives back to Indy through his camp

    June 15, 2011

    Written by Kyle Neddenriep

    Whether it's warranted or not in the wake of the Miami Heat's NBA Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the bashing of LeBron James is certain to continue through the summer and into next season -- maybe until he wins an NBA title.

    Indianapolis native Eric Gordon, who recently completed his third season with the Los Angeles Clippers, said the intense media spotlight that James inhabits comes with the territory.

    "When you're the best player, you have to expect that kind of hype," Gordon said. "If you want that type of attention and you are the best player, you have to back it up. It's going to happen to anybody. When (Michael) Jordan had a bad series or bad game, (the media would) talk about him. Overall, (James) played good, but as far as the big moments in games when he had a chance to take over, he should have.

    "You can't blame him all the way, but he has to take some of it."

    Not that Gordon wouldn't have loved to trade places with James and been in position to compete for a championship. The former North Central High School and Indiana University star hasn't yet played in a playoff series after three years with the Clippers, as the team finished 32-50 this season and well out of the playoff picture.

    But the team has improved in each of the past three seasons and features a young core led by the 6-3 Gordon and Blake Griffin, the NBA's Rookie of the Year. Both are 22 years old. An injury to his right wrist limited Gordon to 56 games, but he managed career-high averages in points (22.3), assists (4.4), rebounds (2.9) and steals (1.3).

    "It's all about winning," Gordon said. "That's how you are judged as a team and individually. We're up and coming. We're looking forward to big things in the future."

    A self-admitted "homebody," Gordon is back in Indianapolis this summer and for the third consecutive year hosting the Eric Gordon Youth Basketball Camp at the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center on the Northside this week for boys and girls grades 1-10.

    Gordon grew up playing basketball at the JCC, and his mother, Denise, said it was "a home away from home" for her three boys.

    "Eric grew up here and went to the JCC daily, so it's an opportunity for him to be involved with kids in Indianapolis and give something back," said his father, Eric Gordon Sr. "It's a great chance for him to share some of the things he's learned over the years. Not everyone gets a chance to go to a camp and sit and learn and work with a guy who grew up in the neighborhood and made it to the highest level in the NBA. And I think his personality makes it pretty easy for the kids to relate to him."

    Gordon continues to prepare for the NBA season despite the possibility of a lockout. The current collective bargaining agreement ends June 30 and, according to reports, the owners and players haven't made much progress on the main issues.

    "I don't really know what's going to happen and I don't think the player representatives know much yet," Gordon said. "All I know is that they are working hard for us to have a season next year. It's never a bad idea to stay in shape, so I'm working like there is going to be a season coming up."

    Several current and former North Central players are helping at Gordon's camp this week, as well as former IU teammate D.J. White, who split last season between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Bobcats.

    Gordon's younger brothers, Evan and Eron, are also camp instructors. Evan is in the process of transferring from Liberty to Arizona State, where he'll redshirt next year and have two to play. Eron will be an eighth grader next year at Westlane Middle School.

    "We want him to dominate as soon as he reaches high school," Gordon said of his youngest brother.

    "We want him to be one of the best basketball players in the country. He has a better knack for scoring than I did at that age and he's taller than I was and has great athleticism. It'll be fun to help him get better and see how he does."

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