Magic Center Gives Back with Donation, Shopping Spree

Photos: Dwight's Big Donation

By Mattson Newell | July 2, 2007

ORLANDO – Christmas came in July for 75 children from the Pine Hill Boys and Girls Club, as Magic center Dwight Howard donated books and $17,500 to the club and then took the kids on a shopping spree at Toys “R” Us.

At the toy store, it was hard to tell who was having more fun – Howard or the kids. As they ran around the store with smiles and excitement, Howard walked around encouraging kids to do their math with the prices of their toys, even discouraging kids from getting airbrushed tattoos. He could also be found singing, dancing, wrestling with Geoffrey the Giraffe and flashing his big smile everywhere.

“It’s great to be here at Toys “R” Us with the kids,” Howard said. “This means more to me than anything. I enjoy this better than scoring 20 points, so giving back is always a big thing of mine. I love giving back to the community and the kids. The kids and the community of Orlando mean a lot to me.”

The Boys and Girls Club was very appreciative of Howard’s continued efforts on their behalf as well.

“This is an amazing opportunity. These kids are never going to have this kind of opportunity, this kind of chance,” said Area Director Karen Atkinson. “On behalf of the Boys and Girls Club, we are just thrilled, because we can’t get done what we want to accomplish without the help of the community. Our corporate sponsors are phenomenal, and then to get a player that is so personally involved in wanting to make a difference himself is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it; it means a lot. (Howard) is phenomenal. If he didn’t already have a job, I would hire him.”

As Howard went up and down the aisles admiring what the kids had and joking and teasing with them, he tried to convince them to get his favorite thing in the store, the board game “Scrabble.”

The kids left Toys “R” Us on Monday with bags full of toys and smiles on their faces, but the biggest smile though came from the biggest kid of them all. Dwight Howard walked away smiling, knowing that he was able to make a difference.

Howard and the Orlando Magic are truly committed to the community. On an annual basis, the Orlando Magic gives more than $2 million to the local community by way of event sponsorships, donated tickets, autographed merchandise, scholarships and grants.

Mattson Newell is an intern in the Orlando Magic Communications department