It wasn’t all about partying at All-Star weekend. The NBA players and celebrities take time to give back.
Charter buses filled with NBA players and volunteers lined the street alongside William Hart Elementary School here on Friday. The school was the first of three locations where players participated in community service projects during NBA All-Star Weekend.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service in which athletes, coaches, and volunteers help rebuild communities in the All-Star Game’s host city. This year’s service sites included schools, individual families in need, and families affected by a Feb. 7 tornado that ripped several neighborhoods in New Orleans East, destroying many houses that had been rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
NBA Adam Silver commented on the Day of Service during his All-Star press conference.:
“As you all know, this All-Star — what was the All-Star Game and then the weekend and really All-Star week — has taken on huge magnitude of events and a much greater scope every year. And this year, in addition to the All-Stars, we have roughly another 60 current players who are in town on top of the All-Stars, plus roughly 150 NBA Legends who are in town as well, who are working in the community, participated in our Day of Service on Friday, are conducting basketball clinics, are working in schools, working on our events. So it’s truly the NBA family in town.”
“On top of that, in our Day of Service, which, interestingly enough, began here 10 years ago under Kathy Behrens’ direction, who runs NBA Cares, it was initially a response to Katrina and our attempt to contribute to the community when we brought our All-Star Game back here. It’s become a regular feature of this weekend in every city we go to, but it’s increasingly impactful here in New Orleans. 2,500 of our guests participated in the activities in the community on Friday, were outside, many of them working in the rain, building playgrounds, refurbishing courts, and all kinds of great activities.”
“I know for many people who I talk to who have been coming to these All-Star festivities for years, it’s become the most important part, the hands-on volunteer work they do in the community. So I’m very appreciative of them.”
On this blustery, 59-degree day in Gretna, a city less than five miles outside of the heart of New Orleans, the goal was to help construct the school’s playground with nonprofit organization KaBoom!
Even as the athletes, including Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, got off the buses, the dark clouds above began to leak. Before the players could reach their work stations, the light rain turned to a heavy downpour.
“It’s really a shame that we have rain because there’s a lot of stuff to do outside to put together this playground,” Kerr said. “Even though the logistics are difficult, it’s a really beautiful gathering of people.”
Players and volunteers grabbed ponchos and headed to the different stations anyway. Curry took shelter beneath a tent before helping construct the playground’s basketball court. Later, Curry and Kerr assisted younger volunteers in using bright-colored paints to fill in a map of the United States near the school’s walkway, a project that Kerr noted as one of his favorite parts of the day.
SOURCE: The Undefeated, NBA