Osseo Native Set To Participate In All-Star Festivities With Derrick Williams
Web Editorial Associate
This weekend's 2012 NBA All-Star festivities will feature a game that includes 12 Special Olympic athletes — including one lucky young man from Minnesota — in the experience of a lifetime.
Anthony Nunn, a 22-year-old from Osseo, is part of a roster from across the country that will participate in the NBA Cares Special Olympics Unity Sports Basketball Game. These athletes will join NBA legends and WNBA players along with NBA stars such as Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker and Minnesota's own Derrick Williams.
"You have to give back," said the rookie forward. "I feel like it's going to be a great game. It's great to be out there helping them."
The exhibition game will combine athletes with and without intellectual disabilities as teammates to showcase the power of Special Olympics' Unified Sports program.
"In college we did a few things like this, helping out," said Williams. "It was a great experience. Our whole team was involved. I always wanted someone to help me when I was younger."
Nunn was honored at the halftime of Wednesday night's Timberwolves game where he was presented a signed Derrick Williams jersey by team president Chris Wright.
"It's unbelievable," said Nunn after he received plenty of applause at halftime. "It's a very happy feeling. I'm overwhelmed and a little anxious."
Nunn, who is also an outstanding floor hockey player for his area team, will be joined in Orlando by his coach, Mitch Ring. Ring has coached Nunn for the last six years, and the two have enjoyed four straight state championships with their team, the OMGAA Thunder. Ring attributes much of the team's success to Nunn's involvement.
"We have a team of special olympians from the Northwest Metro area: Maple Grove and Brooklyn Park," said Ring. "We have won four straight state championships, and all four have been since Anthony has been playing with us. He is the leader of this team and the guy who keeps us going."
The player-coach duo won't just be participating in a basketball game while in Orlando; there are other community activities planned by the Special Olympics and the NBA.
"One of the things we'll do is be a great representative for the Special Olympics of Minnesota," said Ring. "We will also spend a whole day with the other all-stars doing a service project. We will be rebuilding and redesigning a playground area, and all the players will be able to come work together."
One of the most exciting things for Nunn to think about is the chance to meet some of the NBA's biggest stars. Judging by the size of the smile on his face, he can't wait to get on the plane and interact with his heros.
"I really want to meet Michael Jordan," said Nunn. "I'd love to meet him. Kevin Durant, Kobe (Bryant), LeBron James... all of them.
"I'm so excited to go down there."
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.