NBA family delivers food, love at LA Food Bank

Athena Liu
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES — No matter if they play for different teams, at different levels or in different generations, when it comes to giving back to the community, the NBA unites as a family.

On Friday, NBA All-Stars Anthony Davis, Kemba Walker, Larry Nance Jr. and Eric Gordon joined NBA legends at Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to help assemble food boxes for individuals and families, especially seniors, who are still facing hunger in Los Angeles County.

“This is our DNA,” said Dikembe Mutombo, former NBA player and NBA Cares Ambassador. “We believe that going out and serving our community with our partners make the world a better place.”

As part of the 11th NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service, the L.A. Regional Food Bank hopes to raise people’s attention to the little-known part of the area. Although the All-Star Weekend brings hundreds of thousands of basketball fans and profitable business opportunities to the city, one in seven people living in L.A. County are still struggling with food insecurity. For the NBA, working with the food bank is a great chance to exert an impact to the local community outside the Staples Center, said Felipe Lopez, the NBA Cares Ambassador.

WNBA legend player Tamika Catchings said she believes players of all generations can come together when they work to help improve the living conditions of local residents. “No matter what level you are at, it’s all about giving back to the community,” she said. “This is where we are all unified and able to give back.”

While packing food at the assembly line, players and coach were able to share their experiences with volunteers from local schools.

“It’s very satisfying for us to use the platform that the NBA gives us to help other people, but what’s more commendable to me, being in a place like this, is to see those high school students here helping out,” said Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni.

Walker also gave special thanks to volunteers who came to work with the NBA family. The Charlotte Hornets point guard will be playing his second All-Star Game for Team LeBron, but before that, he was able to volunteer his time supporting those who will not be at Sunday’s game.

The L.A. Regional Food Bank has worked to end hunger in Los Angeles County since 1973. They cooperate with the Lakers and the Clippers to mobilize resources to fight hunger locally. But this weekend, they are receiving attention from all over the country.

“It’s great to have the NBA here this weekend for the All-Star Game and all the festivities that go around it,” said Michael Flood, CEO of the L.A. Regional Food Bank. “Having the spotlight on the issue of hunger and that there’s something people can do about it is very important.”

Photo at top: Eric Gordon and Mike D’Antoni enjoy a light-hearted moment while packing food at the food bank. (Athena Liu/MEDILL)