Lakers Youth Foundation Dedicate Newest Lakers Reading Room in Hawaii

As training camp winded down in Hawaii for the Los Angeles Lakers, the team had one final stop to make before their first pre-season game against the Golden State Warriors. Throughout the week, while the players were working hard in the gym, the Lakers Youth Foundation was working equally as hard off the court to continue the Lakers tradition of giving back to the local community.

On Tuesday, October 11, the Lakers Youth Foundation unveiled the newest Lakers Reading Room at the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii’s Charles C. Spalding Clubhouse. This is the eighth Reading Room to be created by the Lakers under the NBA’s Read to Achieve program. Lakers Kobe Bryant, Brian Cook, Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, Assistant Coaches Kurt Rambis and Brian Shaw, and the Laker Girls were joined by Governor Linda Lingle and Representative Scott Saiki at the press conference announcing the new Lakers Reading Room.

“Hawaii has become a second home to the Lakers. We are very appreciative of the support we receive from our loyal fans here, and we are honored to be able to give back to the Hawaiian community,” said Eugenia Chow, Lakers Director of Community Relations. “We hope the Lakers Reading Room will inspire young readers and writers, and we hope this will be the first of many Lakers Reading Rooms in Hawaii.” On behalf of the Lakers Youth Foundation, Chow presented the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii with a check for $15,000 to support the Lakers Reading Room and the Club’s literacy programs.

Calling the Los Angeles Lakers “Hawaii’s team,” Governor Lingle praised the organization for its commitment to literacy and building a reading room because “it’s a key to the future well-being of our state. It’s only when students study hard and have good reading skills that we’re going to be able to build a bright future for everyone.” Governor Lingle generously donated two popular children’s books, Oliver Twist and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, to the Lakers Reading Room.

Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant addressed the children in the audience on the importance of reading. “Reading is the key to your future and the key to your success,” said Bryant. “The Lakers Reading Room – you guys can go in there at any time, crack open a book, expand your imagination, read and learn. That’s truly the key to success. The more you know, the more power you gain. Knowledge is power.” Bryant encouraged the kids to read as much as possible, enjoy the room and challenge their minds. Bryant concluded by asking the children and adults in the gymnasium to recite the NBA’s Read To Achieve Pledge with him.

Next came the maile ceremony, the Hawaiian tradition of untying a ribbon, to unveil the Lakers Reading Room. When the door opened, the children were stunned to see that their old storage room had been renovated with brightly painted walls, new furniture, new carpet, new bookshelves and books, and hanging on the walls, framed Laker photos and a Lakers jersey. The Laker players, coaches and Laker Girls shared in the children’s excitement by reading aloud The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to them. Afterwards, the Laker guests signed the room’s Lakers Wall of Fame and handed out Lakers backpacks filled with school supplies to the children.

The Lakers also conducted a book drive at the game that evening to benefit the new Lakers Reading Room at the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii. All fans attending the October 11th Warriors vs. Lakers preseason game were encouraged to bring a new children's book. All books collected were donated in memory of Chick Hearn, the Lakers’ legendary Hall of Fame Broadcaster from 1961-2002.

The Lakers Youth Foundation is dedicated to using its resources to provide life-enriching opportunities for today’s youth. The Lakers Read to Achieve program focuses on literacy, and our goals are to build a lifelong love of reading in young people, to promote the value of reading and online literacy, and to encourage families and adults to read regularly with young children.


Andrew Bernstein/NBAE/GEtty Images

Andrew Bernstein/NBAE/GEtty Images


Andrew Bernstein/NBAE/GEtty Images

Andrew Bernstein/NBAE/GEtty Images