Gary Forbes has been all over the world playing basketball.
Born in Panama, he moved to Brooklyn when he was a child and played at Benjamin Banneker Academy. From there he went on to play at the University of Virginia, the University of Massachusetts, the Panamanian National Team, a stop in Italy, and a move to the NBA Developmental League where he played on the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Tulsa 66ers.
After that it was off to the Philippines, Venezuela, a stop off with the 76ers on their summer league team, back to Italy again, Israel, then he was with the Rockets on their summer league team. Finally, he made it to the NBA with the Denver Nuggets and the Toronto Raptors before he left after two seasons to play in China last year.
“I’ve got a few stamps on my passport,” Forbes joked. “It’s fun. I like to travel so seeing different places around the world while doing something you love to do, playing basketball, and getting paid for it, has been an amazing experience. So it’s not that bad.”
Forbes has officially left China and is a free agent looking for his next gig. He said that he’s tried out for a few teams recently, but has nothing solid in the works. One thing he is doing right now is working with his own charity, the Gary Forbes Foundation, to host a celebrity softball game in Brooklyn next month on Saturday, Sept. 7.
The event will raise money for TypeOneTwo.org which aids young people living with diabetes. It’s a problem that hits close to home for Forbes who has lived with type-one diabetes since the age of 19.
“My father suffers from diabetes as well,” Forbes said. “I just realized that as a professional basketball player I had a platform where I could reach out to kids to demonstrate that living with diabetes doesn’t have to keep you from achieving their goals.
“I’ve never used it as a crutch myself,” he continued. “Sure there are good days and there are bad days, but I think I can send a message to the youth. I know it’s kind of corny, but if we can help even one or two people with diabetes, I feel like we’ve done our job.”
This is the second year The Gary Forbes Foundation is hosting an event like this. Last year they did a bowling event that Forbes said was both fun and highly successful. Why no basketball games? “Well, it’s a play on the name, ‘Strike Out Diabetes Celebrity Softball Tournament,’” he said. “Maybe next year we’ll organize a basketball game, but softball will be fun and get people involved too.”
Celebrities including J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks, celebrity chefs Candice Kumai and Chris Santos, and members of the Brooklyn Nets organization will be on hand during the tournament.
The event takes place at the Prospect Park parade grounds and park circle lawn in Brooklyn. It begins with a BBQ lunch at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 with the softball tournament beginning at 4:00. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.GaryForbesFoundation.org. General admission is $30 and softball teams looking to enter pay $300.
Forbes played for the Nuggets and Raptors from 2010-12. In parts of two seasons he averaged 15.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per 36 minutes while shooting 43.4 percent. He said he’s excited by the Nets because, “it’s exciting to have that type of buzz around Brooklyn and it’s only right that such a big city has its own team to represent it.” However, he said that he has no preference for where he would like to play next season and hasn’t tried out for the Nets.