Hornets in the Community: Three Hornets Participate in Bee-Fit Field Day
October 24, 2012
New Orleans Hornets forward Lance Thomas was noticeably perspiring, but in this case it wasn’t because he had just gone nose-to-nose against a 7-footer or a burly 250-pounder in the paint. This time, Thomas’ competition consisted of grade-school students at Estelle Elementary in Marrero, La.
On the sunny, 80-degree afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 23, Thomas was actively participating in the school’s Bee-Fit Field Day, hosted by the Hornets and sponsors Ochsner and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. Although the stakes may not have been as high as an NBA playoff game, the 6-foot-8, 225-pounder brought some of his trademark intensity to an outdoor-exercise game that helped teach kids teamwork.
“I’m a big kid myself,” said a smiling Thomas, who was joined at Estelle by Hornets teammates Roger Mason and Xavier Henry. “As you can see, I’m sweating bullets right now. I want my team to win. I get into it. This is not the first time (he’s perspired at a Hornets community event), either.”
A few feet away, Mason was helping coordinate a relay race for students, while Henry oversaw kids practice their passing and shooting on one of Estelle’s outdoor basketball courts. The trio of players stressed the importance of maintaining an active, physically-fit lifestyle with kids at the Westbank school.
“When I was young, we didn’t have as many things that kept us in the house,” said Mason, the father of a 1-year-old and 4-week-old. “We had some video games, but now with the Internet and (cable) TV, it’s important for kids to do activities outside to stay fit.”
Henry monitored Estelle students as they fed each other with chest passes, before they attempted to shoot a layup. The third-year swingman smiled as he observed the results.
“This is a lot of fun,” Henry said. “Kids have all the energy in the world, so it’s a lot of fun to just watch them running all around. I’m not out here to be tough on them. I’m just here to have fun. They look like they’re having a really good time.”