Love Not Quite at First Site – Aaron Palmer


Aaron Palmer’s love of basketball wasn’t as immediate as some might expect. PHOTO//Karl L. Moore/Mooreshots LLC 2022

Andrew Klein, Contributing Writer

“Love at first sight” is usually how athletes describe their first taste of any sport, but Aaron Palmer’s youth basketball story started a little differently than most.

Watching the NBA piqued Palmer’s interest in basketball way before playing sparked in his head. Palmer mentioned from a young age playing sports was never his childhood interest.

“I did not want to play basketball until I was about 13. I was more of a video game and TV kid when I was younger, but I did enjoy watching football and basketball,” Palmer said.

His interest in playing basketball started once Palmer hit middle school, and his size gave him considerable advantages in basketball. Palmer stood at a whooping six-foot tall in the sixth grade and began playing the following year in 7th grade.

“My height always gave coaches and players interest in me for playing basketball, but it still wasn’t my thing. I decided to give it a shot in the 7th grade playing for an AAU team called Georgia Phoenix, who played in the low tier of the WBOA,” Palmer said.

Even through a rough, losing first basketball season, Palmer fell in love with the game and never looked back. He began working with a personal trainer multiple times a week, and with another massive growth spurt on the horizon, Palmer’s basketball career officially began.

“The only thing that first losing season taught me was I never wanted to feel that feeling again. Always knowing we were going to lose before we even got to the court, playing for just fun and not to win, I was tired of that just after one season. I trained my butt off every week and never got satisfied, but growing five inches definitely helped me going into 8th grade,” Palmer said.

Palmer used that fuel of losing to ignite a fire he would carry throughout high school while playing at Mount Pisgah Christian School. That is where he would receive his offer to play collegiately at Piedmont University. A college offer is an exceptional accomplishment for any high school athlete, but even more special to Palmer since he only began playing at 13 years old.

Piedmont being the next stop on Palmer’s journey created a bit of angst, as any new college student would have. But Palmer still awaited one surprise that would change that angst into excitement, and it all began during his first basketball season ever.

“Once I had committed to Piedmont, I think I felt the same emotions any kid has before they go to college nervousness, anxiety, and doubt that I belonged there. That all changed when I found out my old AAU teammate Andrew Stimpson would be my roommate freshman year at Piedmont,” said Palmer.

“Having Andrew as a roommate really helped my experience those first few years at Piedmont, as we were roommates our first three years. It goes to show you never know what can come out of a bad experience like a losing season, but it was all worth it in the end,” Palmer says.

Whether playing basketball or any other sport, youth athletes need affirmation that winning and losing are not everything. As long as athletes work hard and find a positive in any situation, sports will always be an avenue we all can learn from, good or bad.