Before the Alabama Men's Basketball team hits the court, they're hitting the books, reading to fifth graders at Whitesburg P-8.
"It was a lot of fun, I've never met any Alabama basketball players, I've only seen them on TV so it was a lot of fun," Fifth grader, Tyler Watts, said.
Speaking to children comes full circle for Jemison alum, John Petty, who remembers Butler grad Trevor Lacey reading to Petty's class when Lacey played basketball at Alabama.
"That's like my brother now, I always looked up to him, he use to give me advice, so I remember sitting in the same seat asking questions and now I'm living it," Petty said.
To the 10 and 11-year-olds, Bama players are larger than life. Germanee Baker says the athletes motivate her to follow her dreams.
"They inspire me, and I can do anything I put my mind to, and I can play basketball if I wanted to," Baker added.
Petty and his teammates reading stories filled with Christmas cheer, but the message he wants the kids to remember is...
"No matter what your dream is don't give up on it, if you don't have the finances, the friends or the family, you always have yourself, and when you believe in yourself you can do anything you want," Petty said.
The Rocket City Classic is Tuesday, December 18. The first game between UAH and Ft. Valley State starts at 4:30, followed by Alabama and Liberty at 7:00 at the VBC.