By: BRANDON ADOLPH
February 24, 2011
In this world there are a few things to lend one’s passion to such as family, friends or a cause that will affect the lives of those involved. The Charlotte Bobcats hosted their seventh annual Special Olympics Clinic Thursday to welcome the community to Time Warner Cable Arena® for an afternoon of fun and games.
As the Bobcats practice concluded, players and coaches began to wave with huge smiles at the staring faces of delightful onlookers waiting with anticipation to enter the gymnasium. Eduardo Najera, motioned to all in attendance to come in to the gym as he mouthed the words “Come on in”.
Adults and kids participating ate lunch at Lowe’s Home Court, courtesy of Bojangles but directly after lunch a sweet dessert was served. More than 150 athletes from seven counties across the state of North Carolina slapped hands and cheered walking into the Bobcats practice court amazed to see their role models. The clinic was a special event for the Bobcats to express their appreciation and reach out to fans that rarely have a chance to attend a Bobcats game.
"This clinic is fun because normally these kids don’t get the chance to see these guys up close," said Head Coach Paul Silas. "We are going to do some clinics with them to allow them to shoot so they can have a good time. It is going to be exciting for all of us to participate."
As the participants entered the gym they were exhilarated and ready to play basketball. The Bobcats welcomed them with open arms and divided the athletes into groups teaching the fundamentals of passing, shooting and dribbling.
"I can imagine how much fun they are having because I know when I was a kid I wanted to see NBA players," said Jackson. "So I know the anticipation and the level of fun it will be. But I think we as players get more out of it because we are lending a helping hand to some kids that really look up to us and I think we should do this more often."
Pure excitement from the Bobcats and the individuals in the clinic was evident as Derrick Brown and Eduardo Najera participated in a pregame warm up to energize the athletes. Boris Diaw and Dominic McGuire coached kids on two-handed bounce and chest passes. D.J. Augustin and Shaun Livingston started a layup line to see the skills of the future Olympians.
"This event is great," said Stephen Jackson. "Anytime you get a chance to give back and these kids look up to us. They are not fortunate to be in the NBA so its good to spend some time with them, let them know that we care and we support them. We also want the kids to know if they need us we are here for them. Are lives are nothing compared to what they go through on a daily basis. So it’s always good to give back and I am glad to be apart of this."
The Bobcats love the community as much as the people of Charlotte enjoy the incredible athleticism of the residents of Time Warner Cable Arena®. The Special Olympic Clinic will forever be a cherished memory in the minds of all that participated.
"This event is special because we have been involved in the Special Olympics for a long time," said Coach Silas. "The kids being around the athletes are just unbelievable especially the energy the kids bring. I think it is important to the players because it shows how significant they are to the kids. It’s a dual thing for the both parties."