SCHENECTADY — Every time Naylon Carrington heard the word “No,” he skirted it.
Starting Wednesday, every time a kid goes to the basketball courts in Central Park, they’ll see the name “Nay” and fuss around it.
Carrington would have turned 20 on Wednesday, but died in a car accident at the intersection of Union Street and Route 7 in Niskayuna in October 2020, four months after graduating from Schenectady High School.
An honor roll student who played two seasons for the Patriots despite early doubts he’d ever be good enough to make it through college, Carrington was memorialized on his birthday with a city proclamation and naming ceremony. the four courts after him, the ” NayWay Basketball Courts.
The dedication, which includes two new spectator benches with “Nay’s Place” plaques, photos of Carrington from his playing days hung on the surrounding fence and a legacy inscription next to the entrance to the pitch, was designed by the Carrington’s mother, Sondra Banks.
His goal was to ensure that young children who played basketball in the park had a permanent example to follow, an example that Naylon wanted to set, but never had the fullest chance.
“It’s necessary,” Banks said. “And one of the reasons I did it was because it was part of Naylon’s dream. Naylon’s dream was to do something here himself. He was invited to go to Guam, go to college and play basketball overseas, but his dream was to come back and do something here. Fixing, tournaments, everything he had to do, and he couldn’t finish it.
“So I took up the torch for him.”
“She took a mother’s grief, and she gave it to God and He placed in her mind a way to ease her grief and help heal a mother’s broken heart,” said Schenectady City Council President Marion Porterfield during opening statements before Mayor Gary McCarthy. read the proclamation.
“She heeded that word given to her and she began her journey to ensure that Naylon’s passing was not in vain and that others would realize the gift he was to this world.”
The sign at the entrance to the pitch features Carrington as a “loving son, grandson, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and teammate”.
The paragraph below tells players as they make their way to that the courts are dedicated “In recognition of a dynamic athlete and exceptional student who excelled in the classroom. Naylon Carrington leaves a legacy of integrity, hard work, sacrifice and faith for other young people who are striving here in Schenectady and beyond.His diligence, dedication and perseverance can serve as a model for the young people of Schenectady as they play ball on the same grounds that Naylon developed his game and his commitment to his community.
Banks pointed the line down to best describe Naylon’s story:
“Naylon was grateful for this opportunity. It was not given. It was won. »
“He had to work hard,” she said. “When he heard ‘No’ he had to come here and work harder. He had to come here at dawn, sometimes late at night when the lights were out.
“He came with friends, he came without friends. Sometimes it was me and him, me training him and only us here. I wouldn’t let him give up. There were awkward moments, and I would let him have his moment. I let him shout it or scream it. And when he was done, I told him we were going home right away.
“It’s hard to lose a child, especially how young he was,” Carrington’s father, Thomas, said during official statements. “He had a bright future ahead of him. He was a special child. He encouraged his peers not to accept the “no” and to always follow their dreams. »
“The way Nay handled his business, I think, is the way we would want any athlete to handle his business,” said Schenectady High boys’ varsity coach John Miller. “He was in school when he needed to be in school, he didn’t miss practices and he didn’t make excuses.”
For decades, the popular courts of Central Park served as the proving ground for legends like Barry Kramer and Pat Riley.
Riley’s name is on the high school home gym now, but Carrington’s will deliver the message in the park, where he spent countless hours working on his game.
Not to be thwarted by being cut from teams as a youth, Carrington eventually broke through as a junior as the 5-foot-11 guard who made college for the Patriots with spirited defense and some ability to score.
“It shows that anything you think about, you can really do,” said Anthony Harris, one of Carrington’s former high school teammates.
“I grew up with Naylon. He was like my brother. He was honestly a great guy, a great person to be around. He motivated everyone to do good. You just have to like it.
“He was here every day for hours, from morning to night. Just…didn’t stop.
“All the time…all the time. He’s self-taught in basketball here,” Banks said.
“He was a typical kid. He was funny. He was the prankster. He loved video games, chilling with his boys and playing basketball. He also loved school. He knew the importance, that at through all adversity, one of the things he had to maintain was his grades, and when he had nothing else, he leaned on his faith.
The city’s proclamation calls Naylon Carrington “a role model who sets the foundation for others to follow in his footsteps through the importance of everyone’s accountability in the classroom and in the courts.”
That’s what Banks wanted to communicate when she approached the mayor a year ago with her plan to commemorate her son in a meaningful way.
“They need to know not to give up,” she said. “Just because you hear ‘No’, it’s not over. Find a way. There is always a way.
“And there are no days off.”
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Categories: Schenectady, Schenectady County