DETROIT (WWJ) – Mateen Cleaves is still smiling that trademark smile years after the unforgettable National Championship win with Michigan State University. You can see that Cleaves smile these days as a studio analyst for the Detroit Pistons games.
The Flint town kid says his purpose is, in some way, to help others.
“I get a lot of gratification out of helping people,” said Cleaves. “I was blessed to win a national championship and I get that same feeling when I am able to help people.”
“When we did some of the events over the holidays, we helped over a thousand Michigan families in need. To sit there and interact with those folks – the hugs and people saying the nice things, like, they couldn’t have had a nice Christmas without that. That made it all worth it.”
Cleaves is a Michigan State Hall of Famer who lives his live in honor of his late mother, Francis Cleaves, who introduced him to his inspiration in Black History; Martin Luther King, Jr.
“My first picture in the paper was at a Martin Luther King rally, with my mom when I was six years old.” said Cleaves “He stood for something and didn’t mind risking his life.”
WWJ Newsradio 950 celebrates Black History Month by recognizing our local young African American professionals and their heroes. You can listen to these on WWJ at 6:20 a.m., 10:40 a.m., 3:40 p.m., 7:40 p.m.