Nikola Vucevic and Elfrid Payton Team Up with PepsiCo. for a Holiday Shopping Spree with Local Youth

By Josh Cohen
Dec. 15, 2016

ORLANDO -- Imagine the feeling you’d get if you’re a kid and you just were handed a $100 gift card to buy whatever you wanted.

Then, add on the sweetener that you get to cruise around the store with two of your favorite professional athletes.

Well, this actually happened for 100 children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida on Thursday. They went on an unforgettable shopping spree with Orlando Magic players Nikola Vucevic and Elfrid Payton at a local Walmart. It was the eighth straight year the Magic and PepsiCo. teamed up for this holiday extravaganza.

“It’s a great event,” Vucevic said. “You get to help kids pick gifts. It’s really amazing. For us to be able to help out the people that need it; we are put in a special position and it’s always great to help the community.”

“Lots of smiles,” he added. “It’s always a good time.”

As you probably would expect, some of the interactions between the kids and players were quite amusing as they navigated aisle by aisle around the store. Some of the children were quick to figure out what gadgets to pick out. Others asked Vucevic, Payton and other volunteers from the Magic and PepsiCo. for some advice.

From deciding between video games and music devices to choosing between programmable toy robots and Slackers Sky Boards, Vucevic and Payton had their work cut out for them.

Payton still remembers some of his favorite Christmas moments growing up in Louisiana. While he didn’t get the chance to hang out with NBA players when he put together his Christmas wish list, Payton recalls some of those precious times opening gifts with his family.

“I just remember being with my family, waking up with my little sisters and running under the tree and getting toys,” he said. “When I was young I really liked Hot Wheels cars.”

“I just might pick that up,” Payton said with a laugh when asked if he would buy the latest Hot Wheels if he saw it on the shelf.

Thursday’s event was just one of many holiday activities for the Magic. And next week the Magic will bring holiday joy to a local family as part of “The Big Give” event. They will surprise the family during an upcoming game with gifts and special in-game entertainment.