LOS ANGELES – U.S. military living and stationed in Southern California will be able to brush up on their basketball skills with the help of Los Angeles Lakers before three of this year’s preseason games. A special partnership between the Lakers and Pechanga Resort & Casino created the “Hoops for Troops” program in 2015. It’s back this year and offers the chance for 50 U.S. Armed Forces servicemen and women to receive tips from former Lakers player Brian Cook on shooting, dribbling and other skills before the games at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 11, at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego on Oct. 19 and at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Oct. 21. With their families able to watch the clinics from the stadium stands, military members in the one-hour clinics receive free t-shirts, tickets to that night’s game, and amazing memories to last a lifetime.
“The Lakers love to connect with our military. With these Hoops for Troops clinics we have replaced the traditional on-court recognition ceremony with something more active and engaging. We bring them down to the court to show them a little Lakers basketball, get them sweating and help them feel more connected to the team they cheer for while serving in Southern California and abroad.” said Jason McDevitt, the Lakers Director of Community Relations.
“We deeply appreciate the tireless work of our military,” said Patrick Murphy, President of the Pechanga Development Corporation. “We are honored to support them and their families. We want the clinics to be a way of showing them how many people care about them and value their dedication to protecting our country."
Military participants in the Lakers preseason “Hoops for Troops” basketball clinics will compete in a few on-court challenges for some extra special opportunities. Two people in each clinic will win a spot to be the Honorary Team Captain and the Game Ball Delivery person. Military participants’ children will be invited to be a part of the High Five Squad. High Five Squad kids get to give high fives and welcome the players onto the court before tip-off.