Posts Tagged ‘NBA Cares’

Holiday Cheer From Jrue Holiday

PHILADELPHIA — It’s that time of year.

As part of the NBA Cares Season of Giving, the league, its teams and its players have been providing holiday cheer to thousands of children and families during the months of November and December. Teams and players hosted events around the country, providing an estimated:

  • 181,800 meals served
  • 65,850 toys donated
  • 6,003 hours volunteered by the NBA family during the holidays
  • More than 250,000 children and families impacted

Philadelphia 76ers point Jrue Holiday got in the act on Dec. 5, hosting a “Holly Jolly” party for 50 kids from the Atlantic City Boys & Girls Club who were affected by Hurrican Sandy. The kids got to meet Holiday, sit down and watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and then get a present from Santa.

A couple of days later, Holiday spoke with about the event and how it feels to give back. What was the event like?

Jrue Holiday: It was cool. The kids, I think, were really excited. They were really appreciative, which makes it that much better. Just hanging out with them, talking with them, just being a kid is always fun. Did any of the kids make a particular impression on you?

Holiday: There was actually two little girls. One girl’s name was ‘Beautiful.’ The other’s name was ‘Sunshine.’ They were just like, I guess, beautiful and sunshine. They were both really sweet and nice little girls. How did the event come about?

Holiday: I’ve always wanted to do something to give back. I know I do at home during the summer. There’s a camp at my church that I put on and it’s free for anybody. But I haven’t really done anything in Philly. So once Sandy hit, it was the opportunity. And since my last name is Holiday … During the holiday season, there’s nothing better than to give to kids, especially the ones who, I think, appreciate it the most. Do you come away from an event like that with a different perspective on things?

Holiday: Oh yeah, definitely with a joy that little kids will always tell you the truth. There’s no way that you can fake it with them. They actually brightened up my day by going ahead and doing that. Do NBA players have a sense of duty to give back like that?

Holiday: For sure. As a little kind once, you’ve been in situations where you wanted to meet an NBA player, or when you got a chance to meet them, they were the coolest person ever. So just being a role model for people, especially little kids, is big.

Nets, Raptors Truly Going Global

LONDON — New Jersey’s team? Sure.

But the Nets fancy themselves as so much more these days. They’re quickly becoming the world’s team in the NBA, having played preseason games in China this season, after conducting a basketball clinic in Russia, home of their billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Now they’re just hours away from making history as part of the first NBA regular season games to be played on soil outside of North America, tonight and Saturday here at London’s O2 Arena.

They’ve seen the Kremlin, the Great Wall and now Buckingham Palace all before St. Patrick’s Day, cementing the Nets as true citizens of the world.

“Hey, we’re a global team,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “And I don’t think it’s the last time [you’ll see us do this]. But Prokhorov has added that dynamic to our franchise. It was great to go to Russia and spend some time with him. It was great to go to China and play two preseason games and give back to that community. And now here we are in London, pretty much with the same game plan. This is where we are right now and there is really nothing to complain about. [NBA Commissioner] David Stern had this vision a long time ago and now to see it happening is great for our fans, especially for our fans abroad.”

Their counterparts staring back at them in this historical contest?

The Toronto Raptors, who truly embody the spirit of the league’s Basketball Without Borders mantra, boasting six players on their roster that hail from foreign lands. Raptors coach Jay Triano participated in BWB Africa last summer in Dakar, Senegal.

“I’m not sure you could have picked two better teams to represent the league when you look at it from that standpoint,” said Raptors’ big man Solomon Alabi. A native of Nigeria, Alabi is one of three Raptors to participate in the Basketball Without Borders program before joining the league as players. Andrea Bargnani (Italy) and Alexis Ajinca (France) are the others.