Cameron Mills reminds business leaders they are role models 

Published 8:26 am Thursday, January 18, 2018

Cameron Mills, former University of Kentucky basketball star, speaks to the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday.

Former University of Kentucky basketball star Cameron Mills has a Danville connection many might not know about. While speaking at the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday, Mills revealed that John Drake, executive director of the Danville-Boyle County Parks and Recreation Department, gave him his first job one summer when they were both living in Somerset, years ago.

“He’s been in and out of my life for 30 years,” Mills said of Drake, who also had a strong impact in his life.

Despite snowy weather and icy roads, nearly 100 people attended the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday afternoon to hear Mills give an inspirational talk about the old adage, “actions speak louder than words.”

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Cameron said he is weakest when he’s speaking in front of an audience, “But I’m strongest when I walk out that door and live.”

Children are influenced the most by watching adults’ actions, he said.

He described an old, typewritten poem that hung over a door leading into the old UK men’s basketball locker room, along with other inspirational posters tacked to the walls.

The page was in an old frame, “It was nothing impressive,” Mills said, except for the words themselves; no author was given. Part of it read: 

“There are little eyes upon you

And they’re watching night and day

There are little ears that quickly

Take in every word you say

Their little hands so eager

To do the things you do

And little ones who are dreaming

Of the day they’ll be like you…”

Mills went on to describe the pride he felt when UK won the national basketball championship in 1996, and especially in 1998. He said he wanted to wear his large championship ring and show it off to the students, teachers and staff at his alma mater, Dunbar High School. 

He also specifically wanted to show his former coach, Frank Watson, who was also the P.E. teacher at the school. Mills said Coach Watson “taught us how to be men by how he lived his life.”

Mills said when he visited the school, hoping to have a “me day,” he saw an opportunity to help a girl in an uncomfortable situation. 

“You could say she was bullied,” Mills said. He envisioned how he could step out and help the student and show the other 70 kids in the P.E. class what was the right thing to do.

However, “I walked out that door… It’s one of the moments I deeply regret. None more than this one. Those 70 kids needed a sermon without saying a word, just by doing something.” 

Mills ended his talk reminding the audience they are very important business leaders in the community and they have real power because the community’s youth is watching them. They are always looking for a role model.

“You have influence whether you want to or not.”