All Access: Anthony Tolliver's Caravan Experience
Growing up, Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver never had the opportunity to meet an NBA player in his hometown, let along have a group of professional athletes lead a special basketball camp.
So during both years Tolliver’s been with the Wolves, he’s made the most of his opportunity to give back. Both summers, he’s participated alongside Wayne Ellington on the U.S. Bank/Timberwolves Summer Caravan and visited cities across Minnesota providing an experience he wished he could have enjoyed as a kid.
“That’s what it’s all about—the kids, it’s the reason why I do this event,” Tolliver said. “Definitely enjoy getting into the gym and helping little kids get interested in the game of basketball. And we go to cities that normally wouldn’t have NBA players, or NBA players coming to their cities, and have a camp. It’s short and sweet type of camp, but I’m sure it’s something these kids will remember for a long time.”
Tolliver’s enjoyment was visible.
Throughout Tuesday’s camp in Alexandria and Wednesday’s camp in Fairmont, Tolliver’s wide smile was as evident as the kids he was teaching. As the group did dribbling and passing drills, Tolliver was active on the microphone, talking to the kids and joking with them throughout.
Kids ranging primarily from kindergarten through fifth grade might not leave the Caravan with pristine dribbling skills, but there’s no doubt between being on the court, the laughs and the autographed photos the children on hand will take long-lasting memories with them.
Not to mention the exposure to the game could spark a new interest for some of the kids.
“Hopefully it interests them, gets them interested in the game,” Tolliver said. “Whether it be they start playing hard and start working toward becoming a basketball player themselves or it inspires them to be a fan of the game. Either way, it helps the NBA.”
It works both ways. While the Wolves provide long-lasting memories for the kids, the kids add some memorable moments during the afternoon, too. In particular, with player development coach Shawn Respert acting as a playful emcee, the kids come up with an eclectic mix of questions ranging from how much money the players make to what they like to eat to how many girlfriends they have.
Every camp provides another unique moment with the community.
“Whenever the kids ask questions was my favorite part of the day,” Tolliver said. “You never know what these kids are going to ask. They’re very unique questions every time I’m at a camp.”
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