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Ali Gaye gives poignant take on spending time at Boys and Girls Club

Andrew Graham10/13/22
Article written by:On3 imageAndrew Graham

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College Football: LSU Ali Gaye (11) victorious during game vs UCLA at Rose Bowl Stadium. Pasadena, CA 9/4/2021 CREDIT: John W. McDonough (Photo by John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X163784 TK1)

LSU edge rusher Ali Gaye knows he’s in the spotlight by virtue of his football prowess and the program he plays for. And he knows it means he can be a powerful role model, too.

Speaking this week about volunteering at a Boys and Girls Club event over the summer, Gaye explained how he wants to show a new generation they have a path to being where he is today.

“It was an experience, working with the kids and interacting with the kids — it’s always good giving back,” Gaye said. “And I know it means a lot to the kids for us to showcase guys like us. Just showing, you can be where we are right now. And for them to look up to us and work towards that, it’s gonna mean a lot to them and, as kids, they’re going to remember it for life. And we just hope that we leave a good memory for them. And leave a message that they can be where we are.”

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Gaye himself had an athlete idol in the late Kobe Bryant. He, like so many others, seek to emulate the mindset and work ethic that Bryant became known for. Even if he never met Bryant in the flesh, Gaye was influenced to try and be like Bryant.

It’s only natural to want to reciprocate that, to some degree, now that he is an admired athlete.

“I looked up to Kobe Bryant a lot. I try to model his mindset everyday. I wanted to be like Kobe growing up. I think he was somebody that I tried to, like I said, model his mentality, his mindset towards the game, and just try to translate it to my game,” Gaye said.

In line with the NBA theme, a reporter asked Gaye about Charles Barkley famously saying “I am not a role model” and what the LSU star thinks about that concept.

Gaye doesn’t feel like he needs to go out of his way to be a perfect person or anything like that. He’s just going to be himself, knowing just how much the spotlight shines.

“I think it’s good to set a good example for the next generation and for the next kids. Nobody’s perfect. I can only be myself and, if a kid is looking to be who I am one day — depending on what I’m doing —positively,” Gaye said. “Hopefully they can follow my footsteps. But I think for me, I’m just myself and I hope to leave a good example to the next generation.”