2012 Draftees Introduced at Community Event
ALLSTON, Mass. (July 2, 2012) – When one thinks of the Boston Celtics, the legacy of 17 World Championships comes to mind. It’s no surprise that such a successful franchise would be popular all over the world, especially in Boston, where the organization has not only worked to be great on the court, but off the court as well.
To that end, Boston Public Schools are filled with posters from some of the Celtics’ staple programs; Stay in School and Read to Achieve. Several schools also are equipped with the most up-to-date technology helping to ensure that students have the tools necessary to succeed. Basketball courts have been refurbished and food drives for families in need have taken place as the Celtics take pride in helping their surrounding community.
The Celtics once again blended their on-the-court and off-the-court work Monday morning when 2012 draft picks Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph were introduced at the Jackson/Horace Mann Education Complex while unveiling a newly renovated library.
Sullinger, having spent countless hours doing community work while at Ohio State, understood the importance of being part of the service project unveiling.
“I’m happy we were part of the library unveiling today and it was fun getting to know the kids in attendance,” he said. “When you’ve got kids that look up to you and you put a smile on their faces, it means a lot. It doesn’t only melt their hearts but it melts mine, too, because I remember when I was a little kid that looked up to athletes.”
The library was transformed thanks to a donation from the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and NBA Cares. Renovations included painted walls with Celtics graphics, four state-of-the-art computers, two flat screen televisions accompanied with a Nintendo Wii and an Xbox, five tables and 20 chairs. Additionally, a reading nook was added with Celtics-themed carpeting and beanbag chairs.
“Last year we didn’t have the library staffed because of cuts,” said Horace Mann principal Jeremiah Ford. “Historically, we’ve had two library professionals run the library but this year it was basically a self-service space. We have two academic institutions and a youth and family center in this building so we’re always looking for space to bring students together, to bring adults together. It’s just absolutely amazing to see the change in such a very short period of time. The kids are going to come in here and see their heroes on the wall. [The Celtics players] are their role models so I think when it’s all said and done, we’re left with a space that three rather large groups of people can schedule and utilize.”
Following the introductory press conference with the media, Sullinger, Melo and Joseph took time to meet some of the youth who would be using the space. The trio played board games with the younger students in attendance. While Joseph won his first two games of Connect-4, it took Melo a few tries before he garnered a victory.
Thanks to Joseph’s education, he felt right at home with the youth.
“I was an Early Childhood Education major in college,” he said, “so I’m used to playing and being around kids.”
The rookies then moved to the computer station where they worked on a scavenger hunt with fourth- and fifth-grade students. Questions ranged from identifying the founder of the Celtics to answering how many times Larry Bird was named an NBA All-Star. Melo, originally from Brazil, became excited when he met a few students in that group who spoke his native language, Portuguese. The group discussed Brazilian culture and then continued to answer the assigned trivia questions.
The final activity station consisted of Sullinger, Melo and Joseph playing games on the Wii and Xbox with other students. Race car driving ensued as the players were competitive as ever but still falling to the youth.
At the conclusion of the event, the draft picks took a picture with the students and signed their Celtics T-shirts. Students also handed the players thank you notes for spending time with them during the unveiling.
“It’s very important to get to know the community,” reflected Melo. “This was my first event here with the Celtics and I enjoyed it. I’m really looking forward to being a Celtic and helping out in the community.”
With the other two rookies mirroring Melo’s sentiments, they’re all bound to be back in the community soon.