The NBA Cares Season of Giving officially tipped off on November 19, 2012. As part of the initiative, NBA and NBA Development League teams and players will join the community partners and local volunteers in hosting more than 375 charitable events throughout November and December.
The initiative began during the week of Thanksgiving, where teams from both the NBA and NBA Development League found many ways throughout the week to lend a helping hand in the community that supports them on a daily basis.
During the week NBA and NBA D-League teams were active in the community serving up Thanksgiving meals to families in need. Whether it was an entire team event or not, players were out in the community representing their respective teams and made sure to make a difference one way or another.
Here’s a look at some of the things that the NBA and NBA D-League teams did for their community:
- Boston Celtics guard Jason Terry provided Thanksgiving meals to 100 families at the Shelburne Community Center.
- The Los Angeles Lakers, led by Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, served Thanksgiving dinner to mentoring pairs from Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters at Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que in Torrance.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder hosted a holiday carnival for families at the City Rescue Mission.
- Sacramento Kings players helped cook and serve a complete Thanksgiving dinner to 500 individuals at the Trinity Life Center.
- Washington Wizards hosted the Food 4 Families drive at the Verizon Center. Throughout the day, staff, front office executives, players, coaches and wives collected canned goods and monetary donations from fans.
- The entire Atlanta Hawks team, coaching staff and executives joined United Way to serve a Thanksgiving meal to 300 individuals at Clarkston Community Center.
- Charlotte Bobcats players distributed 1,000 meals to families in need from the Cats Care Mobile Pantry at the Time Warner Arena and hosted a special Thanksgiving dinner at a local bowling alley for 200 families from A Child’s Place.
- Cleveland Cavaliers players served Thanksgiving dinner to 200 guests from Project Act at the Quicken Loans Arena practice court.
- The Dallas Mavericks hosted the 15th Annual Mavs Turkey Dunk for 100 boys and girls from the Salvation Army at the American Airlines Center.
- Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee helped sponsor the 21st Annual City of Oakland Turkey Dinner, which served thousands of low-income or homeless seniors, families and individuals.
- The Miami Heat hosted the 21st Annual Heat Thanksgiving Celebration, a block party event for area residents. In addition, 600 underprivileged families received an entire Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings from the Miami Heat.
- Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and his Foundation provided Thanksgiving meals to 800 disadvantaged individuals in his hometown of South Central Los Angeles and in Oklahoma City.
- The Orlando Magic fed approximately 1,100 Central Florida children and families through Thanksgiving meal distributions on November 20 and 22. J.J. Redick hosted a meal distribution at the Rosemont Community Center on Nov. 20.
- The Utah Jazz hosted its Annual Thanksgiving Dinner for thousands of homeless and low-income residents on the EnergySolutions Arena concourse.
- The Springfield Armor served Thanksgiving meals to families in need at the YMCA of Greater Springfield.
- The Golden State Warriors players hosted a special postgame meet and greet with families in the Bay Area most in need during the holiday season. They surprised the participating families with Warriors gift bags and other goodies and mingled with the families, signed autographs and posed for photos.
- The Tulsa 66ers assisted the Salvation Army’s Center of Hope by serving meals to homeless residents.
- The Orlando Magic hosted a Thanksgiving Breakfast at the Coalition for the Homeless. Participants included Magic players Jameer Nelson, Glen Davis and Maurice Harkless, along with Head Coach Jacque Vaughn, CEO Alex Martins, General Manager Rob Hennigan, and Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw.
- The Orlando Magic teamed up with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida in recognition of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month in November. The team donated $10 from every ticket purchased for the November 23 game vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Coalition.
One week following the Thanksgiving events, NBA Cares Season of Giving continued with their initiative, this time with their focus on Worlds AIDS Day, which took place on December 1, 2012.
Through a variety of partnerships, including the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Greater Than AIDS campaign, GBCHealth, and (RED)TM, the league and its teams generated awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS education and research through special on-court apparel and in-arena activation.
Players from all the 28 NBA and NBA D-League teams that competed on December 1, 2012, wore red-and-white adidas shooting shirts featuring the NBA Logoman wearing an AIDS awareness ribbon, along with red headbands and wristbands, and the coaches wore the ribbons as well. In addition to this, NBA TV studio turned red in honour of World AIDS Day and featured two NBA games: Brooklyn at Miami and Sacramento at L.A. Clippers.
“So many lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS,” Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook told the NBA. “Silence can be the biggest challenge to fighting this devastating disease. Together, we can lend our voices to help generate more awareness and knowledge to everyone.”
Teams raised additional awareness in-arena by providing fans with educational materials and donation opportunities and through in-game messaging and public service announcements, including a Greater Than AIDS public service announcement featuring NBA stars Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers, Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and WNBA star Candice Wiggins of the Minnesota Lynx.
As part of their longstanding commitment to supporting social causes related to health and wellness, the league and its players have supported HIV/AIDS research and education in a variety of ways including public service announcements, leadership with GBCHealth, HIV/AIDS testing and grassroots activities, education workshops, and charitable donations.
For more information on NBA Cares Season of Giving, visit http://www.nba.com/cares/seasonofgiving2012.html
For more information on Greater Than, visit http://www.greaterthan.org/