Former No. 2 NBA pick pushes bill that would help cover speech therapy for early childhood stuttering

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

A few years after his NBA career came to an end, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — who was the No. 2 overall pick back in the 2012 NBA Draft — is now making an impact off the court, as he recently helped with a piece of legislation that would give insurance coverage for speech therapy for children who stutter.

Pennsylvania’s House Insurance Committee unanimously approved the legislation advocated by Kidd-Gilchrist and created by state Rep. Brandon J. Markosek.

“As someone who stutters, I still use the tools that I learned through speech therapy when I was a child, but many families aren’t aware that speech therapy is an option,” Markosek said. “This legislation would put speech therapy in reach for those children, which would help give them the confidence they need to use their voice inside the classroom and in their everyday lives.”

The law would “require private health insurance, Medicaid and CHIP coverage of speech therapy for early childhood stuttering.”

A few months prior, Kidd-Gilchrist worked to get a similar law signed in Kentucky, the state where he played college basketball at.

On top of Kidd-Gilchrist’s work towards getting the aforementioned legislation passed in Kentucky, he founded Change & Impact, Inc. back in 2021, and the initiative’s mission is to “improve access to healthcare and expand services and resources for those who stutter.”

Folks viewed Kidd-Gilchrist as someone who had the potential to be a two-way star at the NBA level, but he never quite lived up to his predraft expectations.

The former University of Kentucky standout was never more than an adequate offensive player in the pros. He averaged double digits in points per game just twice during his eight seasons in the NBA and averaged a career-high 12.7 points per contest on 54.1 percent shooting from the field during the 2015-16 season, though it’s worth noting he suited up in only seven games that season.

But as for the defensive side of the ball, while he was arguably never an elite defender, he was rock solid on that end of the floor for the lion’s share of his time in the NBA. For his career, he averaged 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per contest, and his best defensive season from a statistical standpoint came in the 2016-17 season, when he averaged 1.0 block and 1.0 steal per game in 81 appearances (all starts) with Charlotte.

Kidd-Gilchrist’s final season in the pros came during the 2019-20 campaign. He played in 25 games with the Hornets and Dallas Mavericks during the regular season and averaged 2.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

Fans of the Hornets and NBA should be proud of all that Kidd-Gilchrist has done to help young folks who stutter get the help that they need.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.