PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER
When you are bestowed with a nickname like “Hops”, a certain showmanship comes with the moniker and expectations arise. While Maxwell Pearce can no doubt jump out of the gym, people may tend to sleep on the Tuckahoe, New York native’s versatile two-way game that extends from on the court to making valuable contributions away from the game as someone who continuously gives back to his community.
As Ballin’ 4 Peace remains dedicated and committed to being a movement to bring peace and unity through sports to communities effected by violence, it’s equally important to provide the platform for those who have taken part in Ballin’ 4 Peace sports events to be able to share their own story.
In this “1 V 1 with Ballin’ 4 Peace” series, we go one-on-one with Maxwell Pearce and his journey from becoming a standout student-athlete at Purchase College, shining at the NCAA Slam Dunk Contest in 2018, signing with the world famous Harlem Globetrotters, the importance of teaming-up with outreach organizations like Ballin’ 4 Peace, and his family rooted athletics influences along the way...
Before we get into your time competing in sports events with Ballin’ 4 Peace, can you share an update about being sidelined with a foot injury and when you anticipate getting through rehab and back on the court?
My foot is at about 75%. It has been a 2.5 month process of online rehab and bimonthly doctor's visits, but I am finally regaining strength, balance, and mobility in my ankle.
This is a rather difficult time with the Coronavirus pandemic and fall out from the George Floyd tragedy going on in the world. How are you occupying your time and staying busy?
Lately, I have been using this time at home to sharpen my mind and focus on the things that I don’t normally have much time to attend to. With the racial and political climate as of the last 3-4 weeks, properly educating myself has quickly become my priority. I am planning to use my platform to continue to speak out and make change.
Athletics runs deep in your family from your Grandfather being a standout quarterback in high school at New Rochelle, Morgan State, and with the New York Giants and your younger sister running track at Cornell. How have their own stories in sports helped inspire and influence you to excel on the hardwood?
The athletic stories of my family have been the ultimate form of inspiration for me and my own journey in a few ways. My grandfather's experiences have shown me that if you remain a person of great character while having athletic success, it can take your career to heights that you dreamed of. My siblings' success as athletes have fueled me to keep going. I understand that as the oldest sibling, I am setting the tone and example for how they will conduct and apply themselves. I could not be more proud of the athletic success in my family.
From playing college basketball at SUNY Purchase, participating in the NCAA dunk contest, to staring for the Harlem Globetrotters, your basketball journey has been very impressive. Looking back, what have you learned the most through these experiences?
The most important that I have taken from my athletic experience thus far is to remain humble and use your position to inspire other people. Athletes are in a unique position in society where they have a powerful voice and platform. If used properly, you can create positive change within your community and inspire the next generation.
How did you become involved with supporting and being a part of the Ballin’ 4 Peace roster of athletes helping give back?
Social media has been the initiator for so many of the happenings in my career. One day I was scrolling on my instagram and I came across a flyer for the Ballin 4 Peace Dunk Contest. I immediately reached out and was invited to participate. This showed me that B4P is all about inclusion, and that reaching out will always have its benefits. As a person who understands how imperative it is to give back, the Ballin 4 Peace mission was an instant match with me. From there, I have been involved in almost every major event since 2018.
Along with competing on the floor at Ballin’ 4 Peace celebrity and charity basketball games, you’ve also suited up and shined on the football field with Ballin’ 4 Peace. What was that time like for you? Do you apply your same mentality to the football field as you do the basketball court?
The Ballin 4 Peace football game was the first time I played in a football game since 7th grade when I played Pop Warner football. It was a nostalgic experience full of great people who all shared the same mission. No one overly cared about winning the game, but understood how to keep the competitiveness in the game. That was one of my favorite events to date. I apply the same mentality in every game regardless of the sport. If I do things that way, I can continue to be my natural self and focus on the specifics of the game.
Haron Hargrave has become synonymous with putting together impactful community sports events throughout New York that help promote peace? How does Ballin’ 4 Peace compare to some of the other charity games you’ve taken part in?
As someone who has partnered with NBA, AT&T, NCAA, and countless other large corporations for events, the Ballin’ 4 Peace events are my favorite events to attend. The experience is wholesome from start to finish. Everyone in attendance is selfless and shares the same mission. The beautiful thing about it is that although the energy is always extremely high, Haron finds a way to keep things running smoothly and promptly.
Why would you recommend other athletes, entertainers, activists, and organizations team-up with Haron and Ballin’ 4 Peace?
There are so many benefits to getting involved with Ballin’ 4 Peace. Aside from having very competitive games, these events always have like minded people and serve as networking events. It always amazes me when I meet 7-10 new great people to add to all facets of my personal network. Ballin’ 4 Peace is a MUST ATTEND!
DONATE TO BALLIN 4 PEACE
Since 20014, Ballin’ 4 Peace has hosted charity sports events committed to raising awareness about acts of violence and establishing peace through sports within New York City and beyond. From the annual Ballin’ 4 Peace celebrity basketball game, to our flag football and “Back to School” supplies drive with the NYPD, to the “Battle of the Boroughs” bowling party benefiting local charities in New York, our outreach efforts have been made possible thanks to your generous donations and support. Your contribution can make a life-altering difference as Ballin’4 Peace continues to strive for peace in our communities.
DONATE TO BALLIN 4 PEACE NOW