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A Day at Clippers Summer Kids Clinic

by: Mary Catherine Holcomb, Clippers Team Writer - August 4, 2010

Besides just learning basketball skills from the 23 hand-picked counselors available, the participants are able to get some pointers from Clippers alumni, including this year’s coach Sean Rooks.

They marched in the gymnasium, scarfed down their lunches and warmed up with push-ups, toe-touches and jumping jacks. It was time to get down to business for these 285 determined rowdy youngsters. Filled with participants from ages six to 14, the Rancho Cienega Sports Complex was the fifth site to host one of the Los Angeles Clippers free one-day clinics. Complete with lunch provided by Subway, t-shirts (which became dresses on the little ones) gift bags and books courtesy of the Clippers’ Read-to-Achieve Program, the clinic is a guaranteed learning tool and exciting time for the youth involved.

"It is broken up into age groups with counselors and they go through basic dribbling, shooting and passing drills," said Moriah Snyder, the Clippers Community Relations Manager. “The kids have a great time. It’s fun and at the end they get goodie bags, and we tie it into our reading program by giving the kids books, pencils and supplies so that they can have something to bring home.” Initiated in 2006, the clinic aims to provide basketball skills at no cost to youth across Los Angeles. According to Snyder, locations vary each summer to provide different children the opportunity to participate. As of July 12, the clinic has been offered at the Expo Center – with nearly 400 children attending - Costello Recreation Center, Pecan Recreation Center and Valley Plaza Recreation Center. A second session will begin Aug. 9 through Aug. 12 at different locations.

Besides just learning basketball skills from the 23 hand-picked counselors available, the participants are able to get some pointers from Clippers alumni, including this year’s coach Sean Rooks. Not only is the clinic a great way for the kids to have fun, said Rooks, but it is also an excellent way to give back to the community. “I think the Clippers organization did a great job. There is a lot of great help here, as well as the fact that they feed them Subway, can’t get any better than that,” he smiled. “I think everybody has done a good job keeping the energy. It’s been a hot day, inside and outside.”

One of those 23 hand-picked camp counselors, Imani, was one of the "lucky" ones who had to venture out in the smothering heat to shoot some hoops with the older age group. An overseas basketball player who has seen playing time in China, Canada, Columbia and with the Harlem Globetrotters, Imani realizes the impact these clinics can have on the kids. "If it wasn’t free, a lot of these kids wouldn’t be able to do this because a lot of these kids around this neighborhood don’t get the opportunity every day to be around people that are trying to show them something better than what they are around. I think it’s really good." Imani, whose name is proudly displayed on a handful of banners in the gymnasium, knows what he’s talking about because he grew up in the neighborhood ."It feels good. I see a lot of kids that I watched grow up. I talked to a few of them because I once was where they are now, a young kid in the neighborhood. So, it feels good to give back."

According to Rooks, different locations equal different results, but in the end, the kids all just want to play. “Yesterday, we were in the Valley where kids probably have things a little more accommodating for them and come down here; it’s a little bit different. But all the kids responded well, good energy. Can’t ask for anything better than that.”

Giving back at no cost? No, you definitely can’t ask for anything better than that. For more information on the Clippers’ Community Programs, visit the Clippers Community Page.

Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald T. Sterling, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation are conducting free Summer Clinics. The Summer Clinic program, now in its fourth year, was initiated by Sterling in 2006 and has thus far accommodated a total of 7,200 southern California youths.

Each clinic hosts 250 children ranging from ages 6 to 14. Participants receive lunch, t-shirts, gift bags and books courtesy of the Clippers Read to Achieve Program. Children registered in the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Parks’ day camp program at each site will be participating as well as children from the local community through phone-in registration.

The first clinic took place on Monday, July 12 at the EXPO Center in Los Angeles. See images from the event below:

Related Articles: Click to see images from the July 12th Kids Clinic | The National Basketball Academy Youth Camps | Los Angeles Clippers Foundation | Community Programs