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While fans across Northeast Ohio are excited that the NBA Finals are in Cleveland this week, one particular neighborhood is especially glad. Residents in the Hough community are directly benefiting from the Cavaliers hosting the Warriors in the Finals, as they are the beneficiary of renovated spaces at Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center.
Each year during the NBA Finals, the host teams and the NBA partner to create a space in both cities that will leave a lasting legacy for the families that use them. With the Finals in Cleveland for the fourth straight year, this marks the fourth straight June that the Cleveland community has benefited. Previously, the team and the league created NBA Cares Learn & Play Centers at Boys & Girls Teen Club at East Tech High School, Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland at John Adams, and the Broadway location of the Boys & Girls Clubs. This year, the Cavs and NBA have opened a NBA Cares Health & Wellness Center at Thurgood Marshall Rec Center, which also includes a new Technology Room.
On Thursday, the team and league officially unveiled the new spaces to 75 kids from the Hough neighborhood with a press conference and ribbon cutting.
Emmy Award-winning sportscaster and NBATV host Ahmad Rashad emceed the press conference, which featured many executives and dignitaries from the NBA, the Cavs, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. In addition, Cavs General Manager Koby Altman and head coach Tyronn Lue and his staff were joined by players Jose Calderon, Jordan Clarkson, George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance, Jr., Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic. Several VIPs addressed the audience, including NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, City of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cavs CEO Len Komoroski.
Following the press conference, the VIPs were joined by several of the children in attendance to cut the ribbon in the Health & Wellness center and officially opened the new space. The VIPs also split up between the Health & Wellness Center and the Technology Room to interact with the kids. There were video games and board games played, books read and exercise equipment tried.
Cavs legends Austin Carr, Jim Chones, Larry Nance, Sr., and Campy Russell were also at Thurgood Marshall on Thursday to help the kids break in the new spaces, as were members of the Cavalier Girls and Scream Team, as well as Moondog and Sir C.C..
Both the Health & Wellness Center and the Technology Room were completely renovated into Cavs branded spaces that families in the neighborhood will be able to utilize for their count meal program as well as after school and summer programming. The Cavs and NBA provided new flooring, new furniture, painted, purchased new technology items and much more.
In addition to the activity going on in the new rooms, many of the kids in attendance on Thursday were also able to participate in a basketball clinic led by Cavs Academy coaches.