NEW YORK, March 27 – The NBA, Los Angeles Clippers and IBM unveiled a newly finished Reading and Learning Center at the Echo Park Boys & Girls Club today in Los Angeles. LA Clipper stars Elton Brand, Darius Miles, Corey Maggette and Quentin Richardson were on-hand to help unveil the Reading and Learning Center and conduct a special reading event with the young boys and girls of the club. The players were joined by head coach Alvin Gentry, Elton’s mother Daisy Brand and film and television actors Frankie Muniz, Jerry O’Connell, Matthew Lillard and Michael Rapaport and NBA Hall of Famer Bob Lanier.

Clippers forward Elton Brand reads to children at Echo Park Boys and Girls Club in Los Angeles. (NBAE Photos)
As part of the NBA’s Read to Achieve Program, the NBA teamed with the LA Clippers, IBM’s Teaming for Technology program and Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.® (RIF) to complete the Reading and Learning Center. The NBA , its teams and IBM will unveil additional reading and Learning Centers in the next two months in Oakland, Detroit, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta. The Centers will provide the community with hundreds of books, resource guides and reference materials. In addition, IBM has provided educational software, Personal Computers and training as part of its Teaming for Technology initiative.

“I am really excited to be here to help unveil this great Reading and Learning Center,” said LA Clippers’ All-Star forward Elton Brand. “To be here with my teammates and our family members and make a difference in the lives of children underscores the importance of the Read to Achieve program and brings the joy of reading to children everywhere.”

The Echo Park Boys & Gils Club’s Reading and Learning Center is the latest created by the NBA’s Read to Achieve program. In an effort to provide access to reading materials and technology to young people and as a part of its national Read to Achieve campaign, the NBA and its teams plan to create Reading and Learning centers across North America as well as donate more than 250,000 free books to schools and community organizations.

“This Reading and Learning Center is a blessing,” said Carl Reed, Executive Director of the Echo Park Boys & Girls Club. “The resources provided by the NBA, The Clippers and IBM will benefit the children here for may years and continue to provide them with the tools necessary for future success.”

Corey Maggette logs onto the internet on one of the donated computers from IBM. (NBAE Photos)
Since its beginning in 1997, IBM’s Teaming for Technology has provided direct benefits to more than 5,000 community-based nonprofit organizations in 17 cities across the US, and technology training to more than 2.5 million young people. In Los Angeles, Teaming for Technology is increasing technology capacity for nonprofit agencies by helping them create technology plans, install computers, and train their staff in the use of technology.

“IBM is proud to be part of such a winning team,” said Bill Brown, IBM Los Angeles community relations manager. “Through programs like Teaming for Technology and Read to Achieve, the IBM and the NBA families are working together to help provide access to the technology needed for today’s youth to achieve future success.”

The NBA’s Read to Achieve program is a year-round campaign to help young people develop a life-long love for reading and encourage adults to read regularly to children. Reaching an estimated 50 million children a year, Read to Achieve is the most extensive educational outreach initiative in the history of professional sports. Efforts include the annual donation of more than 250,000 books through a variety of reading events and book fairs, as well as the development of essay contests and on-line programs. In addition to being supported by all 29 NBA teams, 16 WNBA teams, the eight teams that make up the NBA's new minor league, the National Basketball Development League (NBDL), Read to Achieve is supported by the NBA's officials, parents and wives of players organizations, and the NBA Players Association and Retired Players Association.