By Kevin McPherson

LITTLE ROCK — This was no ho-hum homecoming for former Arkansas Razorbacks star and newly minted NBA champion Moses Moody, whose return to “the 501” in recent days was punctuated on Friday when Little Rock mayor Frank Scott, Jr., proclaimed the day as Moses Moody Day while honoring Moody with a key to the city.

Moody just wrapped up 2022 NBA Las Vegas Summer League play last week as he finished as the event’s leading scorer, and a month earlier he helped the Golden State Warriors win the 2021-22 NBA championship with a 4-2 NBA Finals series win over the Boston Celtics to cap off his successful rookie season.

On Friday, Moody brought the Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophy to his hometown to share with the city’s youth, specifically the AR Kids Read contingent that earned their way (by reading, of course) into a Hoops Session celebration with Moody, who participated in basketball drills with the young students before speaking to them about the importance of continuing to read as part of their ongoing education.

At the end of the event, Moody exchanged gifts with the mayor — Moody receiving the key to the city before presenting the mayor with an autographed Warriors jersey (video linked: https://twitter.com/ARHoopScoop/status/1550660463070937090?s=20&t=Tjq9qFWxaqrelZ1i9Wx7Zw).

“Man, it was fun,” Moody said of the AR Kids Read event. “This event, in itself, was fun just being able to interact with the kids. Play basketball, promote reading, and make some kids smile at the end of the day, so it was a lot of fun.

“Taking it back to high school, you know we’ve been doing this (AR Kids Read hoops celebrations) for a long time, been doing these interviews (phone video interviews with a Hogville.net hoops analyst) for a long time. That’s why I said we’ve got to do one for the old school (days).”

Indeed, Moody has been involved with AR Kids Reading going back to 2019 when he was still a high school student-athlete.

He’s also been involved with a lot of winning basketball — high school state title at North Little Rock, high school national title at Montverde Academy in Florida, an NCAA tournament Elite Eight as the SEC Newcomer of the Year in his program-first one-and-done season at Arkansas — all prior to last season helping the Warriors win their fourth NBA championship spanning the past eight years.

“I’m just glad it wrapped up the way it did,” Moody said of his NBA rookie season that ended with a title-celebration parade through San Francisco. “It was the perfect storyline, with Klay (Thompson) coming back (after a two-year-plus injury layoff), Steph (Curry) breaking the record (all-time NBA three-point shots made leader) like you said, and so many big accomplishments going on during the year (Moody having a 30-point game and getting the second-most minutes in a Conference Finals by a teenager behind only icon Kobe Bryant are a couple that come to mind). It was a lot of fun.”

Just last week, Moody led the Las Vegas Summer League in scoring with 27.5 points per game (on 43.8% field goal shooting, including 33.3% from 3, and 88.0% free throws) as he also contributed 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks. His 34-point outing (all scored in the first three quarters) stood as the high-water scoring mark for all players in Las Vegas.

He was one of eight Pro Hogs taking part in NBA summer league play.

“It was great, great being able to see the guys,” Moody said of reuniting with former Hogs in Vegas. “Being able to get out there and get some run, up and down, knock down some shots, play a good game. It was fun.”

Moody’s big day in his hometown wrapped up Friday night with a second planned event at P.A.R.K., where he played a lot of his youth basketball.

Entire video interview with Moody linked here:https://twitter.com/ARHoopScoop/status/1550558674866868227?s=20&t=Tjq9qFWxaqrelZ1i9Wx7Zw