After a dominant game against the DeAndre Jordan spent this morning with middle school students at Monsenor Oscar Romero Charter School. In partnership with DICK'S Sporting Goods' #HolidayHoops campaign, Jordan presented the school with two new basketball nets, which will allow the school to field a basketball team. As part of this campaign, the school will then "pay it forward" by donating two hoops to another organization. Here is the Clippers' center posing with the lucky students:last night,
The event was hosted by ESPN's Michelle Beadle, whom Jordan thanked on Twitter and Instagram:
Thank You to Dick's Sporting Goods, Oscar Romero Charter, and the always hilarious Michelle Beadle for… http://t.co/ipI2nF7WWY— DeAndre Jordan (@deandrejordan6) December 16, 2014
In her comments to the media, Beadle spoke about the significance of this campaign and what these basketball hoops will mean to the students:
"To me, playing sports is a vital part of being a kid, even if it's just you and your buddies shooting basketball for an hour that is a very important thing. It's important for kid's physical activity, it's important for their self-confidence and feel like you're a part of something, so I love the idea that through DICK'S they've been able to give these kids hoops and a place to do that."
This event also allowed the gregarious Jordan to have some fun with the students. He led a "Dress and Dribble" competition and judged a slam dunk contest. He even channeled teammatein lobbing the ball to some of the dunkers, including one nifty pass off of the backboard. It looked like he was having as much fun as the students.
While the Clippers' on-court performance is important, it does feel worthwhile to look beyond box scores and the win/loss column to spotlight the ways in which the team interacts with and gives back to the community. Being an NBA player has its perks, but it certainly must feel wonderful to know that one's mere presence can brighten up a child's day. In general, the Clippers do seem to prioritize community outreach, and longtime journeyman Jamal Crawford gave top marks to the organization for the manner in which it engages with both the city and the fans (including those across the country):
"I've been around, I think, six teams, and I would say they're at the top as far as reaching out and connecting with people and connecting with the community," Crawford said. "A lot of people play a part in that. I've seen other situations where it's not a top priority."
It will be interesting to see how the relationship between the Clippers and the city of Los Angeles continues to develop over time, particularly under Steve Ballmer's ownership.