Augustin Surprises Youth With FILA Holiday Gift Package

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO – Sitting courtside as their favorite sports stars warm up before a game is memorable in and of itself. But imagine how much more extraordinary it is for children when a player takes the time to chat with them and give them gifts.

That’s exactly what happened for 20 kids from the Tupperware Brands Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs before the Orlando Magic hosted the Houston Rockets on Friday, Dec. 13.

Moments after going through his warmup routine, point guard D.J. Augustin met up with the children, who were sitting along the baseline next to where the Magic take practice shots, and surprised them with FILA apparel and tickets to stay for the game. After the kids opened their gift package, the 12-year NBA veteran went around to each of them and signed their brand new FILA sneakers that were included in the bag.

“These kids see us on TV playing basketball. They see us on the court, but at the end of the day, we are human. We all have families. I have kids myself. To use my platform and my brand to give back to them, it’s an amazing feeling,” Augustin said. “To be able to interact with them, hopefully it goes a long way beyond basketball and it will help them in school, give them some confidence and motivation. Those are things that I look forward to.”

While it wasn’t the first time he had been to a Magic game, 17-year-old Rene Azcanio will never forget this visit to the Amway Center. Meeting Augustin and a few of Orlando’s other players, including Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, was truly a dream come true considering the Osceola High School student is a huge Magic fan and hopes to work in sports in the future.

“It shows that the NBA really does care and it shows they’re not just here to play basketball. They’re here to impact lives," Azcanio said. “It’s just an amazing opportunity and it shows you that there are opportunities always open and always available.”

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida is to inspire young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, and help them reach their full potential. The academic support they receive and the extracurricular activities they participate in helps the club members develop their skills, build confidence and learn from positive adult role models.

The Magic, as a team, are spreading a ton of holiday cheer throughout Central Florida this month. Last night, shooting guard Terrence Ross was at a local Walmart with volunteers from Pepsi, where they handed 75 kids from Parramore’s New Image Youth Center $200 gift cards and accompanied them on a shopping spree.

The Magic and Pepsi will take part in another holiday shopping spree on Sunday. Dec. 12. One hundred children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida will receive $100 Walmart gift cards courtesy of Pepsi. Magic players along with Magic and Pepsi volunteers will take the youth shopping.

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