Kapawe’no First Nation – Entrepreneur and Life Skills Coach Phillip Dixon is well known in the sports industry. Once regarded a sure-fire NBA star, his basketball career was suddenly derailed by a freak accident that injured his leg and almost took his life. Through sheer force of will and perseverance he regained his ability to walk and play, determined to make the best of the hand he’d been dealt, and went on to mentor young people in both basketball and personal development.
Now, he is widely regarded as a national icon by the youth whose lives he is changing. An avid believer in God and his focus is on self empowerment. “I work with kids who don’t have a way out; those from group homes, who are lost or at risk of being marginalized,” he says. “I teach them what it means to score both inside and out; to overcome obstacles. They inspire me.”
It was a long road. He began as a personal trainer, drawing on all he had learned in his rehabilitation. From there he moved into community work and his niche became evident. Determined to give back, he regularly sponsored international students from countries such as Jamaica, Trinidad and China to attend private schools and obtain much-needed scholarships. He opened up a not-for-profit organization Wolverines, a basketball academy for youth, and found the funding he needed for ongoing basketball programs with guest speakers. As president and program coordinator he expanded his reach, offering summer workshops on everything from arts and crafts to language skills. A motivational speaker himself, he gave talks to young people on a wide range of subjects including anti-bullying, education, gangs and parenting skills. Hoops Skool for inner-city youth is one of his many accomplishments, and he proudly brought the Wolverines team to gold.
His achievements in basketball speak for themselves, and date back to his high school years. After being recognized as Player of the Year, he went on to play professionally in countries such as Hong Kong, Columbia and Venezuela. He was one of the Starting Five on a scholarship at the University of Utah after receiving over 100 offers elsewhere. As a member of the Canadian National Men’s Team he and his peers won the Silver Medal at the World University Games in Sheffield, England.
He was the proud recipient of the Best in Toronto Award from the Nike 1ON1 Championship Tournament, which was quickly followed by an honor, afforded him by the City of Toronto: a park named in his honor. He used the prize money to build a basketball court, and his accolade was recognized by the CBC with a broadcast on community leadership in 2007. He has also been commissioned as a professional basketball choreographer and consultant for prestigious films starring Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Wahlberg, including Four Brothers and Hoop Life.
Last modified: May 11, 2023