Thursday, December 1, 2011

Burks Earns Key to the City

Burks surrounded by family at Grandview City Hall
By Paul Thompson
This Thanksgiving, former Grandview basketball star Alec Burks had a lot to be thankful for.
Burks, who was selected by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA draft this year, returned home last week to receive an official key to the City of Grandview. He spent Thanksgiving with his family. He watched GHS—a team he led just a few years ago to the state championship—open their basketball season.  And before leaving, he had another reason to be thankful: the NBA lockout had ended, paving the way for Burks to finally begin his professional basketball career.
The whirlwind began on Tuesday, November 22, when Burks officially became the second athlete in Grandview history to receive a day in his honor, joining former GHS and current NFL quarterback Josh Freeman. At that night’s Board of Alderman meeting, Mayor Steve Dennis declared that November 23 would from that day forward be known in Grandview as Alec Burks Day.
“Now we get to celebrate someone who has worked awfully hard, and spent time improving himself as an athlete and as an individual,” said Dennis in presenting Burks. “You’ve got a lot of people here who are very, very proud of you.”
Burks was then awarded with proclamations from the city and the state, as well as with a ceremonial key to the city. The room was filled with family, friends, former teachers and coaches. It was yet another indication that the former GHS and University of Colorado basketball star had officially arrived.
“It felt so good, having a day like this,” said Burks of the night, before taking a moment to soak in the whirlwind year that saw him drafted by the Utah Jazz in the 1st round of the NBA draft. “When you make a dream come true, it’s an emotional feeling.”
At GHS, Burks helped lead the Bulldogs to the state championship game in 2009 and was selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Missouri.
He continued his streak of success playing for Colorado, and caught attention on a national stage. He earned the Freshman of the Year honor from the Big 12 conference, was featured on Sportscenter’s Top Plays (for a breathtakingly pretty up-and-under lay-up), and has even played as himself in a college basketball video game.
Family and friends gathered at the local Applebee’s earlier this year to watch as Alec was selected by the Utah Jazz in the NBA draft, bringing Burks to the edge of his dreams.
As he accepted a ceremonial key to the City of Grandview last Tuesday, however, the night was somewhat bittersweet.
If everything worked out the way it should have, Burks would have been preparing for a road game against the Sacramento Kings on November 23. But because the NBA is currently going through a lockout, Burks was able to attend the event in his hometown.
Fortunately Burks didn’t even have to wait through the weekend for the news that the lockout was over, and there would be an NBA season.
For his part, Burks was open about his lockout experience. He showed confidence that the NBA labor struggle would resolve itself in time for the season to be salvaged. He admitted that it was hard to watch his former Colorado teammates play while waiting for his chance to become the first GHS alum to play in the NBA. He shared thoughts about going back to school if the season was cancelled.
But now, Burks can breathe a sigh of relief. He can take a moment to revel in the gravitas of having a day dedicated in his honor, can enjoy a Grandview basketball game, and can be thankful this holiday season for a homecoming that ended as perfectly as this one.

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