Success drives pro athletes back to the Quad Cities

Jack Cullen | November 26th, 2018

The Quad Cities has a rich history of producing successful amateur and professional athletes, and three of the region’s active and most well-known sports stars made trips home within the last month.

Each of them — Chasson Randle, Madison Keys and Seth Rollins — gives back to the Quad Cities. Their creative contributions develop talent, instill civic pride and make the area a cooler place to live, work, experience and play, major pillars of the Q2030 regional action plan.

In late October, professional basketball player Chasson Randle returned to his native Rock Island for the unveiling of the burger in his name at PeeWee’s Restaurant. The proud Quad Citizen, who helped craft the sandwich, touted its taste during an interview with the Washington Post.

“Aw, man! It’s amazing,” Randle said. “It’s got some spice to it.”

A portion of the proceeds will benefit his youth basketball camp and a charity of the restaurant owners’ choice. Randle was with the NBA’s Washington Wizards for a couple of weeks and is now with the franchise’s G League team, the Capital City Go-Gos. The 25-year-old Stanford alum also is representing the United States this week at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers in South America.

Professional tennis player Madison Keys poses for a photo before the start of the Festival of Trees Holiday Parade in downtown Davenport.

Two weeks ago, fellow Rock Island native Madison Keys hosted an anti-bullying and female empowerment rally for FearlesslyGiRL in Bettendorf. About 1,000 girls attended the event, according to multiple media reports.

Keys, the 17th-ranked female tennis player in the world, later met fans during a FearlesslyGiRL fundraiser at Crow Valley Golf Club in Davenport.

The Quad City Arts’ Festival of Trees Holiday Parade also drew Keys, 23, to downtown Davenport, where she and her family watched helium-filled balloons float down 3rd Street.

Last week, professional wrestler Seth Rollins stopped at Pancheros Mexican Grill in Davenport and posed for a photo with at least one fan. The Buffalo, Iowa, native, and WWE superstar, whose real name is Colby Lopez, recently opened a new location for his Black and Brave Wrestling Academy at 508 W. 3rd St., Davenport. Lopez is 32.

In related news, the Quad Cities was represented strongly at the Big 10 men’s basketball media day last month in Rosemont, Illinois. The Quad City Elite AAU boys basketball program had three alumni at the annual event, more than any other AAU program, the Quad-City Times reported.

Iowa’s Nicholas Baer, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Nebraska’s Isaiah Roby “are huge impact players for their teams this season,” Times columnist Don Doxsie tweeted.

Professional wrestler Seth Rollins poses for a selfie with Bettendorf native and Augustana College sophomore Sriram Sugumaran last week at Pancheros Mexican Grill in Davenport.

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