NBA D-League Players Help Unveil Toyota Rebound Project Center in Utah

NBA D-League

In Utah, Cathy Allred wrote the NBA D-League players helped unveil the renovated Rippy Reading and Learning Center in Lehi, Utah, on Tuesday. All 16 NBA D-League teams “were represented by players at the unveiling as well as a healthy representation of Utah Flash.”
NBA D-League Utah Flash owner Brandt Andersen, “with the cooperation of Lehi City, chose the Rippy Family Literacy Center for the grant.” The effort stemmed from a “$65,000 grant through Toyota Project Rebound, which gave the center a facelift and upgraded computer equipment.”

NBA D-League President Dan Reed said that “through the NBA, $91 million has been used for community projects, 331 education and play centers for kids have been built and 700,000 volunteer hours have been donated” (Cathy Allred, Provo Daily Herald, 1/7). Read the entire article from the Daily Herald

NBA Teams, Players Gave Back at Christmas

NBA Cares Christmas Cheer (2:48)

During the holiday season, the NBA, along with its teams, players and coaches have made special efforts to help those in need. Through NBA Cares, teams made the holidays a little brighter for the less fortunate through a number of initiatives including food and toy drives, hospital visits and holiday parties for thousands of families (NBA Cares).

Video added to YouTube: December 22, 2008

The Yao Ming Foundation Benefiting From the Rockets’ Next Tux & Tennies Gala

Houston Rockets

In Houston, Jonathan Feigen reports that the Yao Ming Foundation and the Bush-Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund would be the beneficiaries of this season’s Tux & Tennies Charity Gala on February 18 at Toyota Center.

Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander: “The Yao Ming Foundation is doing great work in China for the school children, particularly the schools that collapsed during the earthquake. Because we had the problem here, we thought of the problem there. One just brought the other to your mind. We saw the devastation in China. There’s no reason we can’t help the Chinese people, also.”

Rockets C Yao Ming, who established his foundation after China was hit by an earthquake in May, said, “We saw many children studying outside and some in very poor classrooms. In China, a lot of people continue to concentrate on helping there, not just (giving) money, but also going to the earthquake zone or doing something to let people know we did not forget them.”

Feigen also noted that last season’s Tux & Tennies dinner “raised in excess of $750,000” for the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, “a record for the event” (Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, 12/18). Read the entire article from the Houston Chronicle

Athlete Notes: Omar Gets His Liver Transplant; Dikembe Advocating for Congo

Zo's Fund for Life

Miami Heat C Alonzo Mourning and his Zo’s Fund for Life campaign reports some good news in the effort to help three-year-old Omar Ferguson get a life-saving liver transplant. A donor liver became available on Saturday, December 13 and was flown in from California to Miami where doctors immediately performed a successful transplantation on little Omar who was clinging to life. Omar will need ongoing post-transplant care and several immunosuppressant medications to help fight against organ rejection in addition to the current transplant-related expenses, which are all a part of the overall $300,000 goal to be raised. Zo’s Fund for Life has donated $50,000 of the $300,000 needed to “Give Omar Life” and has raised a total of $142,000 to date (Alonzo Mourning Charities).

Dikembe Mutombo: NBA.com’s John Hareas noted that free agent Dikembe Mutombo is advocating support for Congo. Mutombo: “By text-messaging ‘Congo’ to 90999 on your cell phone, you can raise awareness for $5. We are trying to receive international support for the people of the Congo who are suffering daily from deadly diseases such as HIV, AIDS and Malaria. More than five million people have died and that number is growing. Last year, more than 1.4 million children have died from Malaria alone.”

Mutombo also noted that “50 to 60 percent of the patients at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in the Congo, named after his late mother, are dying from Malaria” (John Hareas, NBA.com, 12/15). Read the entire article from NBA.com

LeBron James: The AP reports that The LeBron James Foundation”is cutting its staff and some of its charitable work.” The organization “will produce the King for Kids Bikeathon next June with consultants instead of staff to lower administrative costs.” Last year’s bikeathon “raised $50,000 each” for the Akron Area YMCA, the Akron Urban League and the LeBron James Family Foundation (AP, 12/17). Read the entire article from the AP

Usain Bolt: Ecorazzi reports that Jamaica Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt “has launched a fashion line” to support charities “that better the island nation of Jamaica, including the Jamaica United Way.” The merchandise “will be divided into three lines to target different markets: a souvenir line, an Urban Line, and a line of Signature Polo shirts featuring the ‘To the World’ pose he became known for at the Beijing Olympics” (Ecorazzi, 12/17).

Franchise Tag: Orlando Magic Players Visit Disney Children’s Hospital Patients

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic players Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick and Keith Bogans recently visited Disney’s Children’s Hospital at Florida Hospital to spend some holiday time with children currently in the hospital.

ESPN.com’s John Denton covered the day under the header, “Howard Trades Smiles With Young Patient.”

Howard: “I’m a doctor and they all call me Dr. Giggles. My job was to make sure all the kids ended up with smiles on their faces before I left. I actually got my Ph.D. in being a comedian and making people laugh. That’s my second job and I enjoy it.”

Denton noted that Redick “was particularly mindful of what the families were going through during their hospital stays. Redick’s younger brother, David, needed surgery last winter to remove a noncancerous tumor on his spine. Redick talked with many parents about the struggles their families were going through.”

Redick said, “You have kids who are put in these very unfortunate situations and their attitudes are great, their outlook and spirit for life are inspirational. When I go to these events I like trying to get a feel for how the families are doing. I tell them I know it’s no fun being in the hospital, but thanks for fighting.”

Bogans, on meeting the kids: “Seeing their smiles when you give them gifts and take time for them, their reactions mean everything to me. Those kids, what they are going through, puts everything in perspective. Basketball really doesn’t mean much compared to what they are going through. But basketball actually means a lot to those kids when you talk to them” (John Denton, ESPN.com, 12/14). Read the entire article from ESPN.com

Celtics: The Boston Celtics recently hosted a holiday party for children from the Boston Medical Center. Young patients were treated to face painting, sing-a-longs and story telling, while players hosted games and signed autographs (Boston Celtics).

Timberwolves: Minnesota Timberwolves players hosted kids at Build-A-Bear for a Reading Timeout. Players read with the children and then helped to make their own bear. Each child made another bear for the Timberwolves Toys for Tots donation (Minnesota Timberwolves).

Shareef Abdur-Rahim Honored at White House for His Faith-based Future Foundation

White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

In Atlanta, Christopher Quinn reports that former NBA player Shareef Abdur-Rahim was honored at the White House this morning.

Abdur-Rahim’s Future Foundation, which works with at-risk children ages 9 to 18 in south Fulton County, was “one of eight nonprofits at the conference sponsored by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.”

The Future Foundation “offers free academic, sports and social development programs. It also builds working relationships with other organizations that helps all of them to be more effective in service” (Christopher Quinn, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/9). Read the entire article from Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bosh Teams with B&G Club; Progress on Omar Campaign; Nash’s Auction; Tiger’s Tourney

Chris Bosh

Toronto Raptors F Chris Bosh has been named national spokesperson for the Boys & Club of Canada. During a November game against the Celtics, Bosh donated $75,000 to the Boys and Girls
Clubs of Canada. The money will be used to support an arts and culture grants program for children and youth who attend the clubs. As part of the effort, Bosh will appear in a national PSA campaign that BGCC has developed to help increase donor support. The campaign will highlight the positive impact the organization has on 200,000 children and youth across Canada annually in offering programs that promote their healthy physical, educational and social development.

This season, a Chris Bosh Foundation ticket program will reward youth that are active in the classroom and the community. Each home game, the foundation brings a worthy group of youth to attend the game. During some games of the season, youth also are able to meet Chris after the game (Chris Bosh Foundation).

Give Omar Life Campaign Update: One week into Alonzo Mourning Charities’ and Zo’s Fund for Life’s “Give Omar Life” campaign raised $129,000 in the effort to give a life-saving organ transplant to three-year-old Omar. There is still $171,000 to be raised to reach the organization’s goal (Alonzo Mourning Charities).

Nash Auction: Phoenix Suns G Steve Nash launched the Steve Nash Foundation’s first All-Star Auction. Proceeds from the Auction will benefit the Steve Nash Foundation’s work, specifically its early childhood education and development initiative in Arizona.

Nash: “Instead of relying on an outside company to handle auctions, we’re excited to be able to use the technology built into our own website to augment our ability to grow our reach and help more and more kids. With the NBA All-Star game in Phoenix this year, I’m especially looking forward to getting to meet the auction bidders at the events we have planned during the weekend — it’s a pretty unique opportunity to mesh my playing career with my off-court passion for philanthropy” (Steve Nash Foundation).

Tiger’s Tourney: Tiger Woods is hosting the Chevron World Challenge, now in its 10th year, this December 17-21 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The tournament will help raise money for programs of the Tiger Woods Foundation, including the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Orange County. The Tiger Woods Foundation’s mission is to empower young people to dream big and to set specific goals to achieve their dreams (Tiger Woods Foundation).

Photo credit: Chris Bosh Foundation

Wayman Tisdale Aiming to Help Other Amputees Afford the Prosthetic Process

ESPN Wayman Tisdale Cancer Feature (9:19)

ESPN.com’s Anna Clemmons profiles former NBA player Wayman Tisdale under the header, “After Losing Leg to Cancer, Former NBA Big Man Reaches for Big Rebound.”

Clemmons: “In February of 2007, Tisdale fell and broke his leg. Over the next 22 months, he endured a cancer diagnosis followed by bouts of chemotherapy so painful that he sometimes refused to let his children see him. When his treatments all failed, he agreed to let doctors cut off his right leg.”

Tisdale has “started a foundation aimed at raising funds to help amputees afford the prosthetic process (not all prostheses are covered by insurance providers).” He also “counsels others on fighting cancer or limb loss.”

Tisdale: “You can never give up because quitting is not an option. No matter how dark it is or how weak you get, until you take that last breath, you must fight” (Anna Clemmons, ESPN.com, 12/3). Read the entire article from ESPN.com

Video posted to ESPN.com: December 3, 2008

Mourning Moves Forward With Plans for Affordable Housing Project; 33 Thanksgivings

Alonzo Mourning

The South Florida Business Journal’s reports that Miami-Dade County commissioners yesterday gave Alonzo Mourning Charities “a 65-year lease on 7 acres of county-owned land in downtown Miami, where [Miami Heat C Alonzo Mourning] and partners plan affordable rental housing.”

Mourning’s group “plans to construct a total of 190 units. About 95 of the two- and three-bedroom units would be reserved for families with an income at or below 60 percent of the county’s adjusted median income.” Elderly residents “will have to meet the same income criteria to qualify for the 95 planned one-bedroom units” (Bill Frogameni & Oscar Pedro Musibay, South Florida Business Journal, 12/2). Read the entire article from South Florida Business Journal

Mourning’s 33 Thanksgivings: Alonzo Mourning and Alonzo Mourning Charities delivered 533 Thanksgiving meals to families who normally would not have a chance to enjoy this special family gathering around the table. Mourning started “33 Thanksgivings” in the year 2000 and continues to make special door-to-door deliveries of complete Thanksgiving meals to families residing in underserved areas of South Florida. What started out eight years ago with deliveries to only 33 homes has since grown to 533 deliveries to families in need (Athletes for Hope).

Photo credit: Alonzo Mourning Charities

Alonzo Mourning Steps Up to Help Three-Year-Old Omar Get Liver Transplant for Christmas

Give Omar Life

Miami Heat C Alonzo Mourning and Alonzo Mourning Charities has launched the Give Omar Life campaign through Zo’s Fund For Life. The campaign is supporting three-year-old Omar Ferguson, who has a disease called Biliary Atresia, a congenital abnormality of the liver’s bile system.

In Miami, Fred Tasker wrote that “needs a liver transplant for Christmas. He needs one before that, in fact, or he might not live until Christmas.” Mourning has “donated $50,000 toward the operation, and wants 25,000 South Floridians to give $10 each to raise $300,000 in total.”

Mourning: “There are two million people in the area. If 25,000 of them give $10 apiece we would have enough. If you can’t give the funds, the power of prayer is amazing” (Fred Tasker, Miami Herald, 11/27). Read the entire article from Miami Herald

Please visit Zo’s Fund for Life for more information.

Giving Thanks: Several Pro Teams Busy in Community this Thanksgiving

Kansas City Chiefs

With the NFL, NBA and NHL in full swing, several pro teams hit the pause button to give back this Thanksgiving. Progress Avenue presents a round-up of what went on this holiday:

Anaheim Ducks: The Anaheim Ducks partnered with local nonprofit, We Give Thanks Inc. and La Casa Garcia restaurant to host its annual complimentary We Give Thanks Thanksgiving dinner for local residents that might go without. Over the course of the day, more than 12,000 local residents enjoy a meal of traditional Thanksgiving fixings (Anaheim Ducks).

Arizona Cardinals: The Arizona Cardinals took part in their annual “Help Feed The Hungry” Thanksgiving holiday dinner at Phoenix Rescue Mission on November 18 (Arizona Cardinals).

Baltimore Ravens: The Baltimore Ravens and the Lady Ravens Association celebrated Thanksgiving with our variety of activities in the Baltimore community. In all, 15 players participated (Baltimore Ravens).

Buffalo Bills: The Buffalo Bills served up a Thanksgiving dinner at the Northwest Buffalo Community Center on Tuesday night. Over 200 children and their families attended the 9th annual event (Buffalo Bills).

Carolina Panthers: The Carolina Panthers served 200 steak dinners to homeless men at the Uptown Shelter in Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon (Carolina Panthers).

Chicago Bulls: Chicago Bulls players Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas and Aaron Gray shared Thanksgiving dinner with 843 visitors at a homeless shelter in Chicago earlier this month (Chicago Bulls).

Cincinnati Bengals: The Cincinnati Bengals held their annual canned food drive prior to the Philadelphia Eagles game on November 16. Fans donated 7,630 pounds of non-perishable and canned goods. In addition, Bengals fans gave $8,020 in cash donations to help feed the hungry in our community (Cincinnati Bengals).

Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cleveland Cavaliers, along with Feed the Children, provided 400 Cleveland children and families in need with boxes of food and personal care items on November 14 (Cleveland Cavaliers).

Dallas Cowboys: Dallas Cowboys made a visit to The Salvation Army homeless shelter on Tuesday and served an early Thanksgiving dinner. The players and some of their wives and coaches’ wives passed out dinners to some 200 less fortunate people (Dallas Cowboys).

Dallas Mavericks: The Dallas Mavericks hosted the 12th annual Turkey Dunk Thanksgiving Party on Monday. The event featured a basketball clinic, question-answer session with all Mavs players and coaches, and a four-course meal (Dallas Mavericks).

Detroit Lions: Detroit Lions S Dwight Smith, a Detroit native, distributed turkeys, stuffing, gravy, dinner rolls, bacon, hot dogs, and Pepsi and Faygo products at Savon Foods Supermarket on November 25 (Detroit Lions).

Golden State Warriors: The Golden State Warriors hosted their eighth Annual Holiday Meal Serving in Oakland on November 19. Warriors players, staff members and the Warrior Girls were on hand to distribute pre-packaged meals that included all the fixings for a complete Thanksgiving feast to 300 families from various Bay Area shelters and nonprofit organizations (Golden State Warriors).

Houston Texans: The Lady Texans teamed with HEB to help raise money to feed families for the Thanksgiving holiday. The group presented a check for $5,697.00 after their first-ever Lady Texans Turkey Drive. The funds helped feed more than 350 Houston families that otherwise would not have had a meal this holiday season (Houston Texans).

Jacksonville Jaguars: This year’s Operation Blessing, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ annual food distribution program held the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, assisted more than 3,000 Eastside families who are in need during this holiday season (Jacksonville Jaguars).

Kansas City Chiefs: The Kansas City Chiefs continued their long-standing Thanksgiving outreach this time of year through eight seperate hunger-relief initiatives. One effort included Chiefs players and wives hosting the annual pot luck dinner for 60 families at the Ronald McDonald House (Kansas City Chiefs).

Los Angeles Clippers: Los Angeles Clippers G Baron Davis and the Rising Stars of America Foundation donated Thanksgiving Dinner to 75 families on Sunday, November 23 (Los Angeles Clippers).

Miami Dolphins: The Miami Dolphins contributed monetary donations to purchase more than 1,370 Thanksgiving meals to feed more than 14,000 underprivileged people in South Florida (Miami Dolphins).

Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota Vikings G Steve Hutchinson and his wife, Landyn, hosted an early Thanksgiving meal for young patients and their families last Tuesday at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, Fairview. It’s the third such dinner the Hutchinsons have hosted (Minnesota Vikings).

New Jersey Nets: The New Jersy Nets served meals to more than 100 people in need at Montclair Citadel Salvation Army on November 17. The Nets also distributed food packages and frozen turkeys (John Shabe, Newark Star-Ledger, 11/18).

New Orleans Hornets: New Orleans Hornets G Chris Paul and his older brother C.J. teamed up with Rouses Supermarkets to donate $50 gift cards to a total of 100 local families that can be used to purchase Thanksgiving meals. The Pauls came up with the idea to donate gift cards to 50 families, which was matched by Rouses (New Orleans Hornets).

New Orleans Saints: New Orleans Saints RB Deuce McAllister and the Saintsations shared Thanksgiving by giving away complete turkey dinners to 100 families in the New Orleans area on Tuesday. McAllister and the Saintsations greeted 100 pre-selected families from four area non-profit organizations (New Orleans Saints).

New York Jets: The New York Jets Women’s Organization visited The Community Soup Kitchen of Morristown, NJ, to donate and serve food as well as decorate the hall for the Thanksgiving season. The soup kitchen normally serves from 80 to 180 guests daily (New York Jets).

Oklahoma City Thunder: As part of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Holiday Assist Program, the team recently handed out Thanksgiving dinners to families. The program will reach thousands of Oklahoman children and families (Oklahoma Thunder).

Phoenix Coyotes: The Phoenix Coyoted participated in the Big Guy Turkey Drive at the Salvation Army headquarters in Phoenix on Thursday. The effort provided Thanksgiving dinners to people throughout the Valley (Phoenix Coyotes).

Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh Steelers WR Hines Ward teamed with the Salvation Army and opened up his South Side 86 restaurant to families from the Homeless Family Crisis Center and Homewood Brushton area that otherwise would have had meager meals this Thanksgiving (Pittsburgh Steelers).

Sacramento Kings: Sacramento Kings players Francisco Garcia and Bobby Brown visited kids at WIND Youth Services and served a full Thanksgiving meal on November 15 (Sacramento Kings).

San Francisco 49ers: The San Francisco 49ers in partnership with CityTeam Ministries, served Thanksgiving dinner for over 2,000 low-income citizens in San Jose on Tuesday. The players and volunteers worked in the distribution center and food kitchen to serve meals and hand out holiday food boxes and turkeys to the families who were looking for assistance (San Francisco 49ers).

San Jose Sharks: The San Jose Sharks joined with the Jr. Sharks to host the 2nd Annual Frozen Turkey Drive in conjunction with Second Harvest Food Bank. Since July of this year, Second Harvest Food Bank has experienced a 55% increase in food requests (San Jose Sharks).

Seattle Seahawks: Seattle Seahawks WR Nate Burleson hosted dozens of Seattle-area children from the Rotary Boys & Girls Club for his first annual Thanksgiving dinner. Burleson was joined by some of his Seahawks teammates (Seattle Seahawks).

St. Louis Rams: For the 14th year, the St. Louis Rams on Tuesday passed out turkeys at three different locations to help feed over 1,600 families in the St. Louis community (St. Louis Rams).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted its second-annual “Turkey Time with the O-Line” event last Tuesday, and about 600 families who filed through the parking lot of the Bucs’ training facility in their cars to receive a Thanksgiving meal (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

Washington Redskins: The Washington Redskins hosted its sixth annual “Harvest Feast” on Tuesday at FedExField, distributing Thanksgiving food baskets that included a whole turkey to Prince George’s County resident in need (Washington Redskins).

Washington Wizards: The Washington Wizards held their 10th annual Turkey Drive at Heaven’s Grocery Store in Northeast Washington, DC on November 20. Wives of the Washington Wizards gave out 400 turkeys and bags of food to help feed those in need this Thanksgiving (Washington Wizards).

The majority of this information was gathered from team Web sites. Please visit the Resources section for links to each team’s community relations program.

Photo credit: Kansas City Chiefs

Spurs’ Kurt Thomas and Anthony Tolliver Go Back to Fourth Grade for a Day

Spurs' Thomas and Tolliver

San Antonio Spurs F Kurt Thomas and C Anthony Tolliver read “If I Ran for President” and participated in a mock legislative session with students from a San Antonio 4th grade class to reward student Isabella for being the grand prize winner of the Whataburger What’cha Reading Contest.

Thomas acted as a Supreme Court Judge and Tolliver was the President for the day. The students represented the Senate and House of Representatives where they tried to gain approval from Judge Thomas and President Tolliver and convince them to pass their “Class Bills” (San Antonio Spurs).

Photo credit: San Antonio Spurs