Switching Hoops for Helping Hands, the NBA Gives Back to the Community

NBA All Star Jr Journalism Program

By Claire Dinwiddie, Dominican High School
Caitlin Piper, Mentor
Photos by Stephanie Mayer, St Mary’s Dominican High School

Whether it be dribbling down the basketball court or helping build an elementary school playground, the NBA works hard on everything they do. On Friday, February 17, 2017, KaBOOM! and NBA Cares Foundation teamed up to create a special project- a brand new playground and basketball court for William Hart Elementary School in New Orleans, LA.

Among the various festivities of the 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend, the 10th annual NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service took place on Friday, just two days before the All-Star game. On this special day of giving back, three projects took place, one of them being a service event at an elementary school sponsored by KaBOOM!.

KaBOOM! is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing active play into the daily lives of children. Since its foundation in 1996, KaBOOM! has served over 8.5 million kids and built 16,700 playspaces. This program teams up with different organizations, such as the NBA, to give back to the community through service.

Volunteers young and old from KaBOOM! and NBA Cares Foundation spent the day piecing together a playground set for the students at William Hart Elementary to enjoy. Alberto, a fifth grader at the school, was one of the few students chosen to help volunteer.

NBA All Star Jr Journalism Program

“It means a lot for people to do this for us. I am going to look forward to coming to school and playing on our new playground,” said Alberto.

Along with the volunteers, many familiar faces were seen contributing to the project.

“I think it’s great for the students to work on their own project and get to see the outcome of their work when they come to school,” NBA legend Detlef Schrempf said.

After the eight hours of work was finished, the transformed schoolyard can now be enjoyed by students of William Hart Elementary.

“Helping build a playground for the kids reminded me of the one I played on as a kid,” said Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, “it’s important that we do as much as we can to ensure that as many kids as possible can have something like this.”

The busy weekend has only begun, however. Following Saturday’s fun festivities, the NBA All-Star game will take place in New Orleans, LA at the Smoothie King Center at 7 p.m. on Sunday night.