In the city of New York, the name Richard “Pee Wee” Kirkland carries a mix of legendary stories, depending on whom you asked. However, at 78 years old, Kirkland’s life has now come full circle, and he is being recognized by the City of Norfolk for his transformation and inspiring impact.
In an article from 13 News Now, the Norfolk State alumni was honored with a proclamation from the city for his remarkable transformation from a Rucker Park legend to a popular motivational speaker. Kirkland now dedicated his journey to choosing the higher road compared to his younger lifestyle.
Decades before the 3-point line in college basketball, Richard Kirkland served as dominant force for Norfolk State’s offense. With his speed and agility, he led the team to average over 100 points per game, leaving opponents struggling to keep up with their relentless scoring prowess. Pee Wee led the men’s basketball team to victory, securing the 1968 CIAA title and earned him the MVP award for Norfolk.
After his college success, Kirkland was drafted by the Chicago Bulls. However, he made a life-altering decision, choosing street life over his hoop dreams. Unfortunately, this led him down a troublesome path, resulting in two stints behind bars in 1971 and 1981-1988.
After a while, Kirkland returned back to Virginia. During the proclamation ceremony, Richard Kirkland expressed deep gratitude towards Norfolk State, recognizing the unique basketball reality they created, thanks to the bond and love among the people involved. Speaking with fondness, Kirkland reminisced about his days as a Spartan, particularly with his teammates. They were like brothers, forging an unbreakable connection on and off the court.