Retired athletes improving the UNITY of the world, one person at a time.
Meet #14: Alexis Hornbuckle
Alexis Hornbuckle is a certified personal trainer, podcast host, mentor, social activist, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Alexis Hornbuckle Basketball: a player development platform where players get taught the fundamentals of life and basketball, as well as group and individual prep for college and the pros. Alexis is a franchisee of Youth Hoops Basketball Camps: a year-round basketball camp that hits everything on offense and defense for ages 6-14 years old. She hosts and co-hosts several different podcasts such as The Collective Unfiltered, VFL in the lane, Uplifting Voices Everywhere, and BUCK’D UP (coming soon).
Alexis has dedicated her life to playing basketball. As a recently retired professional athlete, her focus has shifted to coaching and teaching young women how to use basketball as a vehicle to a free education.
Alexis has always known that this world desperately needed a change. Growing up as a black woman in West Virginia wasn’t easy. Unfortunately, racism touched her life early and has never stopped. She is unsettled by the injustices black people face daily, especially when it comes to police brutality. Alexis believes what we are lacking is accountability, love, and true unity… but how do we get there? How can we use current or former athletes to help with inclusivity and racial unity? Alexis understands that being involved in sports at any level helps to eliminate and control racial, social, and economic imbalances. When you’re on the field or the court with your teammates, there is only one goal in mind; to beat the other team and win the game. The color of your skin, the country in which you were born, the accent that you speak with, the neighborhood you grew up in—none of these should be used to discriminate against another human being. Alexis believes there is only one race, and that is the human race, and the time to bring forth radical unity is now.
Alexis graduated from the University of Tennessee, where she studied sociology, played combo guard for the Lady Vols Basketball team under the leadership of legendary coach, Pat Summitt. She walked away with a degree and two national championships. Immediately following her second championship, she was drafted #4 overall in the 2008 WNBA draft to the Detroit Shock. Alexis would play in the WNBA for six short years on a total of 4 teams, one of which was the Minnesota Lynx when they won their first championship in 2011, giving Alexis her 2nd WNBA championship. She also played 11 years internationally in Turkey, Israel, Dubai, Poland, Jordan, Puerto Rico, Finland, and more. Alexis is the only player to win a NCAA title and WNBA title in the same year (2008 - with the University of Tennessee and the Detroit Shock).
Meet #41: Matt Gersper
Matt Gersper is an author, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. He is the Founder of Happy Living: a health and wellness media and book publishing company. He is a three-time author: Turning Inspiration into Action, The Belief Road Map, and Inspiring Women. Matt believes a better self is always possible – today and every day… and he has dedicated the rest of his professional life to becoming all he is capable of becoming with the gifts he’s been given so that he can give to others, lift them, and help them become all they are capable of becoming with the gifts they are given.
Matt never imagined, not in a million years, that he’d be leading a grassroots movement to improve the unity of the world, but he paid attention when the Universe suggested it to him in the fall of 2016. Racial strife—reignited by the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, NC—was weighing heavily on Matt’s mind as he went on a Twenty-Eight-Mile Make-a-Wish Foundation Hike. Ten long hours of hiking and thinking. Reflecting on the escalating racial tensions of the day and recalling times of racial unity in his past. His thoughts went to football and the impact sports had on his life. It didn’t matter what a teammate looked like or where he came from. It didn’t matter to which god the guy next to you prayed or whom he voted for. Common goals, shared work, and the team spirit of sports increased unity and reduced race as an issue of importance. Character and trust mattered. Skin color did not. An idea came. Retired Athletes for Racial Unity. RAFRU. Matt thought, “We'll build a website and ask retired athletes who share our mission to join us by writing a 400 to 600-word post about racial unity during their athletic career, and to help us spread the love through their social media community too‼”
In the summer of 2020, the inspiration that Matt received deep along the Foothills Trail of the Carolinas has become the reality you see today, Retired Athletes for Radical Unity. We changed the "racial" to "radical" to include gender, sexuality, socioeconomics, political, and other differences).
Matt graduated from the University of California – Davis where he studied economics, played Strong Safety for the football team and pole-vaulted for the track team. Immediately after college, he pursued his childhood dream of becoming a professional athlete, only to come up short with the unique distinction of being cut from three different football teams, in three different leagues: Canadian, USFL, and NFL, all with names beginning with the letter R: Roughriders, Renegades, and Raiders.