NBA elites give back to community during All-Star Weekend

At the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Draymond Green took pictures, chatted and handed out presents to young patients. (Serena Yeh/MEDILL)

By Serena Yeh
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES –Draymond Green played 38 minutes and recorded his third consecutive double-double in a game Wednesday night, but 13 hours later, the Golden State Warriors forward was at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, chatting and playing games with young patients.

In fact, all four NBA All-Star players present – Green, the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, and the Washington Wizards’ John Wall and Bradley Beal – had games the previous night but made the Thursday morning visit to the hospital. Wall, however, is recovering from knee surgery and did not play in the game.

The event was part of the NBA’s Los Angeles All-Star Weekend community effort, where members of the NBA family, including NBA Cares ambassador and Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo and fellow Hall of Famer George Gervin, took pictures, played games and made crafts with the patients.

In addition to the hospital visit, the NBA hosted its All-Star Day of Service on Friday. Members of the NBA and its partners packed donations for low-income families and built a playground at a local elementary school. This is the 11th year the NBA Cares Day of Service has been part of the All-Star Weekend.

“It means a lot to come here, just to put a smile on someone else’s face,” Green said. “So many times you’re working hard, you’re doing something for yourself, you’re doing something for this brand, that brand, but to just come to do something out of good faith, put a smile on someone else’s face, you never know what a difference it makes in their lives.”

“What they’re going through is probably the toughest thing in their life that you could ever go through and yet they still smile. It just put things into perspective.”

Giving back to the community is important for Green, who has been involved in a variety of philanthropic campaigns such as inviting underprivileged high school students to a Warriors game and taking at-risk youths to a holiday shopping spree. The 2016-2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year shared that winning the season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award was still one of his goals.

“I mean just to give back though, that’s more important than anything,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s not about recognition.”

“It’s about just giving back and making someone else’s day, trying to make someone else’s life better.”

Photo at top: At the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Draymond Green took pictures, signed autographs and handed out presents to young patients. (Serena Yeh/MEDILL)