New SZN: A Portrait of Tony Hicks




Posted on April 10, 2016 by Soraya Hebron


Last fall, Penn basketball captain Tony Hicks made the hard decision to sit out for the upcoming season in order to pursue a more promising path after graduation. On February 17th, 2016 the birthday of basketball legend Michael Jordan, I met with my friend Tony to talk about the impact that the sport has had on his life.

I’m Tony Hicks. I was originally born in L.A. Moved to Chicago when I was three. My parents got a divorce and my mom raised me and my brother. He’s ten years older than me. She was single until 7th grade. Funny thing—I never grew up playing basketball. I was a football player from age six to age thirteen. That was all I did. Part of the reason why I love basketball so much now is that I picked it up so late. For kids who have been playing it their whole life it kind of dies down and I at the peak right now.


I wouldn’t call him a family member, but someone who I consider family and has changed my life is my high school coach. He came from New York and was a really good coach. Part of the reason why I chose basketball is because he saw so much in me and thought I could really do something with it if I decided to put all of my time into it. That was when I made the decision to stop playing football.


My mom does hair. She’s done hair since I was born. Yvette—her name is right here on my arm. She got her own shop when I was growing up. She got tired of that and now she just pays booth rent. She actually works on the same street we live on just eight blocks down the road. That’s all she does everyday, three days out of the week. She just supports us the best she can.


Best moment of Penn basket—beating Harvard. It was toward the end of freshman year. I had personally started playing well and it was a big win. Nobody expected us to win. It was a great experience because I was with the people that I have been closest with on this team during my four years at Penn and we played fantastic. They thought they were going to win and had the Ivy League wrapped up. I don’t remember the score—I had twenty-four points though.


I’m going through the hardest moment of Penn basketball right now. I actually spoke to my dad today who I don’t speak to very often. Right now I’m having trouble with the fact that I’m not competing and playing a sport. This is a time when I feel like I’m really just competing against myself. I’m trying to stay focused because I am going somewhere after this and I can’t let now affect how I carry over into the future. I’m just trying to stay focused, knowing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.


“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

      -Michael Jordan

Portrait of Soraya Hebron by Jasmin Smoots.  Copyright 2016
Portrait of Soraya Hebron by Jasmin Smoots. Copyright 2016


About The Author: Soraya Hebron is a senior majoring in Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  Class of 2016.

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