LOUISVILLE, Ky. — 11-year-old Isaiah Long may not be playing in Rupp Arena quite yet but one day he is hoping he will be.
“My dad took me to a UK camp about three years ago. We went twice and I met Tyler Herro, Tyrese Maxey, Quickley,” Isaiah Long said.
Isaiah recently added one more Wildcat to that list when he got a phone call from former University of Kentucky basketball star, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Kidd-Gilchrist is a player he has more in common with than just their skills on the court. Kidd-Gilchrist spoke to Isaiah about the struggles he has faced with stuttering and hopes to get together for lunch sometime soon.
“It was nice to hear it because it just helps me know that it’s alright to stutter,” Isaiah Long said.
Over the years, Kidd-Gilchrist has shared his journey and has served as an ambassador for the stuttering community. In 2021, he founded Change and Impact Inc. “a stuttering initiative with a mission to improve access to health care and expand services and resources for those who stutter.”
His story has stuck with Isaiah’s father, Justin Long.
“After he left UK, a story came out about how he struggled with it, and I just really remembered that story and I didn’t know why, but I guess now I know why I remember it so vividly,” Justin Long said.
Even despite the challenges Isaiah may face with stuttering, Kidd-Gilchrist is proof that anything is possible. “It’s because he played at UK and that’s where I want to play and he stutters and so do I and then he went to the NBA and that’s what I want to do,” Isaiah Long said.
Isaiah continues to prove that each and every day.
“There may be some 11-year-old out there with the exact same issue that dont talk to kids at school, he might not want people to know,” Justin Long said. “It’s really not like that. Be comfortable in your skin and be who you are and that’s what Isaiah is. That’s what he does.”
Kidd-Gilchrist has appeared as a guest speaker at several universities, camps and health care associations, spreading his vision to change the social stigma of stuttering.