By Brandon Adolph
November 1, 2010
All around the city of Charlotte, the Charlotte Bobcats in conjunction with Wells Fargo-Wachovia celebrated Paint the Town on Monday, November 1, 2010. Paint the Town is a community event and activity-based initiative aimed at giving back to the Charlotte community.
The Bobcats organization was out in full force, pounding the pavement as they went to several Wachovia Branches and YMCA’s greeting local children and residents. The Bobcats players, Lady Cats, Air Rufus and mascot Rufus were on hand to help children with their homework and boost employee moral.
"This is an opportunity for us to get out into the community and thank people for their support," said Bobcats President and Chief Operating Officer Fred Whitfield. "It's also a way for our players to give back to the community by spending time with kids and stressing to them the importance of education and fitness."
The morning began bright and early, around 7:30 a.m. at the Wachovia CIC branch. Following the appearance at CIC, the Bobcats visited the Wachovia Carmel and Starmont branches before heading to the Wachovia Headquarters in Uptown Charlotte.
At noon, the Bobcats overtook the Wachovia Atrium for fun, games and chances to win prizes that included tickets to the upcoming November 13 home game against the Utah Jazz. Bobcats PA announcer Big Pat came out to be the master of ceremony for the affair, while the Lady Cats and Air Rufus stole the show to entertain the lunchtime crowd.
After the performances, the beautiful Lady Cats walked around passing out Bobcats oriented cookies to everyone in attendance. The glee was overwhelming from people in the audience because of the abruptness of the event.
"It was a good surprise to come down here and see the Lady Cats dancing around for lunch," said Wachovia worker Keith Hill. "I would like to see that more often. I think this is very good for employee moral, because we come down just about every day and to see something different or different scenery is great."
Following the Wachovia Atrium, the Charlotte Bobcats visited the Wachovia Tryon branch and from there it was off to the Harris-YMCA in South Park to meet a screaming host of students. An abundance of kids filled the court at the Harris-YMCA to meet and shoot hoops with Rufus, the Lady Cats, as well as Bobcats players Nazr Mohammed, Derrick Brown, Sherron Collins and Eduardo Najera. Najera actually had a shoot-out with several of the youngsters.
"It feels good to help the children today – I came from the same environment growing up," said Collins. "I used to hang out in places like this all day until it closed. So it feels good to be one of those guys to come back and be the guy kids look up to. When the little boy asked me to sign his shirt, I was happy. Coming up, I never thought about being a guy that children would idolize and ask for an autograph, but I try to take it all in and give back whenever I can."
Paint the Town concluded at the Stratford-YMCA, with children participating at the Stratford-YMCA after-school program. Lady Cats members Brittany and Dawn, along with Gerald Henderson and Kwame Brown of the Bobcats were greeted with cheers entering the door at the Stratford-YMCA. They helped the kindergarten through fifth grade students with their math, reading and science homework. I overheard a third grader ask Gerald Henderson, "What do you think it will take for D.J. (Augustin) to be an All-Star," to which Henderson replied, "We will talk basketball later – now its homework time."
"It is huge to see the children understand that athletics is more than just being on the court – it is also in the classroom," said Stratford Operations Manager Adrianne Hobbs. "They are able to see celebrities on their level and allow the kids to understand the players are real people as well. This event will definitely be a stepping stone to higher academic achievement. We (the Stratford) try to make everything as relevant as possible to our kids, and knowing that the Bobcats are right here in our own town, it is a perfect connection."
No one heard louder screams than when Rufus snuck in and surprised the kids. In the gymnasium, Rufus participated along with the Lady Cats in a game of freeze dancing. Every place Rufus walked, the children hung off of him like apples on a tree.
"It was so exciting to help the children today, they (the kids) were so excited especially to see the players and Rufus – they had a really good time," said Lady Cat Brittany.
The Paint the Town event will be a day that the people who participated in it and were surprised by it will never forget.
Let us know what you think.
Send us your response to this article or video and we'll post it on bobcats.com using your selected screen name.