SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Even-keeled Allen Crabbe described himself as “a rebel” when he was in high school at Frederick K.C. Price III Christian School located in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles. The school is affiliated with the Crenshaw Christian Center founded in 1973 by his grandparents, and as a family member, Crabbe was uncomfortable with the attention he received and once asked his mother if he could transfer to public school.
She told Crabbe he’d have to transfer to local Culver City high school. “They weren’t good in basketball,” Crabbe said. “I said, ‘OK, I’ll stay here.’ There wasn’t too much to debate. I stayed, and the rest is history.”
Actually, for the Nets’ highest-paid player, it’s more about carving out a niche for himself in the family legacy. In high school, Crabbe led FKCP to one of its six California Interscholastic Federation state titles in Division IV and later saw his No. 23 jersey retired after reaching the NBA.
But on Wednesday when the Nets return to Los Angeles after facing the Kings Tuesday night in Sacramento, Crabbe will be honored for something much bigger. When the school was struggling financially last spring and in danger of closing its doors, Crabbe offered a generous six-figure donation to keep it afloat for the 2018-19 school year. That sparked public donations that have helped the school regain its footing.
The school will thank him by naming the basketball court after him. The move caught Crabbe by surprise, but the one-time “rebel” reacted proudly.
“I just feel like in the bigger, grand scheme of things, I saved the whole school,” said Crabbe, who makes $18.5 million per season. “My aunt was like, ‘What you did here with your success that you had in high school and all that you did for the school, I’ll bless you with that opportunity if you want the court to be named after you.’ I was like, ‘Of course. Why not?’ I think it’s cool.
“For my grandfather to create his legacy and everybody knows him as the pastor in the church, it’s kind of dope for me to create my own legacy within the family,” Crabbe said. “Not in the pastoral route, but with basketball. When you make it to the NBA and all that money that you can make, it’s good to give back. I think it’s a humbling experience. It’s really an exciting time for me.”
The Crenshaw Christian Center is a non-denominational megachurch known as home of the FaithDome. In 1986, Crabbe’s grandfather, Pastor Frederick K. Price, established a school on the church campus that offers pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Target enrollment is 260, but in recent years, it has hovered around 175 students. It employs more than 30 teachers and faculty and claims a 100 percent graduation and college acceptance rate.
Recalling his own experience, Crabbe said, “Some of my best friends went there pre-K through 12, and they still are friends to this day. I wouldn’t really trade it for anything. It’s a small school, but it’s family-oriented. They have teachers who care about you, teachers who put in extra work to make sure you’re getting good grades.
“Obviously, I was a rebel at first, not really trying to be at my family’s school my whole entire life, but I feel like it paved the way for me. Grounded foundation. It was good.”
When Crabbe was approached by his family for financial help, he didn’t hesitate. They asked for a quote to give to a community newspaper, and before he knew it, the story was picked up and generated national attention.
“I’m not one to do anything for publicity,” Crabbe said. “I just did it because I was helping my family out. Then, faculty and other parents were coming up to me and saying thank you. They didn’t have to take their kid out and find another school in that area, which is a rough area. I didn’t realize how many jobs I was saving. Shoot, there are teachers there who taught me.
“When you do stuff out of the kindness of your heart, you’re really not expecting anything from it. But just to see how many people’s lives that I’ve touched, I thought it was a pretty cool thing.”