By Josh Cohen Nov. 19, 2017
ORLANDO – Arron Afflalo is in his 11th NBA season, so he knows how important it is for professional sports teams and athletes to be committed to helping others in the community.
The decision to return to Orlando for a second stint with the Magic this past summer was as much about his respect and reverence for the people of Central Florida as it was about playing for a team he felt he would fit in well with.
To nobody's surprise considering how generous he’s been throughout his NBA career, the 32-year-old journeyman has picked up right where he left off from when he last played for the Magic. Already this season, Afflalo has participated in several community endeavors to brighten up the lives of those that have supported him since he first arrived in 2012.
His latest contribution came on Sunday at Dr. James R. Smith Neighborhood Center when he joined forces with Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, Magic staff, Amway and other volunteers in distributing 450 Thanksgiving meals to underserved families.
“This community has been great to me,” Afflalo said. “Through the Magic organization, all the support that I feel like I received from fans and people that support the Magic, this is my way of getting back into the community and showing them that I appreciate them.”
It’s especially meaningful, Afflalo says, to give back during the holidays. Showing compassion and spreading holiday cheer makes a big difference.
“I think it’s the spirit of the moment, Afflalo said. “The togetherness that it brings. A lot of people go through a lot of trials and tribulations throughout the entire year. During the Christmas time, Thanksgiving time you definitely want to bond with your family and just appreciate the moment that you have with them."
Amway community representative Kelly Norton shares that same feeling, and is ecstatic to be able to partner with the Magic in helping so many families have a more enjoyable Thanksgiving.
“We are so proud to be back here again this year and giving out Thanksgiving dinners,” she said. “Just so much joy. As I’m coming across through these lines, everybody is grateful for what they are being given and the team on the other side of the table, we are just as happy to be doing it for them.”
In addition to receiving a turkey and all the traditional Thanksgiving trimmings, which was made possible thanks to the generosity of Afflalo, Amway and the Magic, recipients took professional portraits with Outlaw and Magic Dancers. Free haircuts and health screenings were also provided.
“It’s wonderful,” Joseph Caesar, regional center manager for the city of Orlando, said about having Afflalo, the Magic and Amway assist so many people. “We thank them so much for doing this. It’s just a great community event. It allows people to go home happy and not have to worry about what they’re going to have to eat next week.”