ORLANDO - Jerian Grant and Jarell Martin, both 2015 NBA Draft picks, joined the Orlando Magic around the same time last summer. Grant, 26, was acquired from the Bulls as part of a three-team trade on July 7 and Martin, 24, was dealt to Orlando from Memphis a couple weeks later.
Aside from being excited about the opportunity to play for an up-and-coming young team, both were ecstatic when they learned they would be joining an organization who care deeply about the community.
It didn’t take long after they both arrived in Orlando for them to realize just how much of an impact the Magic make on children in the region.
So, as you might expect from a pair of athletes who want to help youth reach their full potential, Grant and Martin are thrilled whenever they can directly assist children.
This is precisely what they were able to do on Thursday, Feb. 21 at AdventHealth for Children, where they helped lift the spirits of young patients. After playing games with a few of the patients, they then visited children at their hospital rooms and handed them “get well” teddy bears.
“It’s definitely important to give back in this way,” Martin said. “Definitely important giving back to the kids, showing that we care.”
“It means a lot to come out here,” the Baton Rouge, La. native added. “I’ve been big on kids, been trying to have an impact on kids’ lives growing up so I’m definitely very excited to be here.”
Joining two of the Magic’s reserves at the hospital were Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, Magic Dancers, STUFF the Magic Mascot and the Magic Blue Crew.
The teddy bears donated to the children were originally parachuted during a recent Magic game from the rafters to fans, who were encouraged to write inspirational messages on the tags.
The upbeat reactions from the kids in both the play area and the hospital rooms brought Grant, a father of two, tremendous joy. He hopes now they will be able to use this experience as a way to overcome their health issues.
“This gives the kids a chance to step away from whatever they are going through for a brief moment and just really enjoy life and enjoy just having a good time,” he said.
“I have two kids so I know how it is,” the point guard added. “That joy you can bring to them and put a smile on their face means a lot.”
Last month, AdventHealth, formerly known as Florida Hospital, and the Magic announced that they had expanded their partnership. They unveiled the AdventHealth Practice Facility at Amway Center and revealed ways in which they plan to reduce injuries and optimize performance.
The Magic also honored one of the successful participants, Priann Franco, of AdventHealth for Children’s Healthy Weight and Wellness program, which is designed to motivate kids and keep them on track for a healthy weight. The 15-year-old high school student, who has developed a passion for lifting weights and playing sports, was named an honorary member of the team.
AdventHealth was one of 16 Central Florida organizations to receive funding from the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) this year as part of their annual efforts to assist community programs aimed at improving children’s lives.
“The Orlando Magic are a community asset,” said Daryl Tol, president and CEO of AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division. “They are a lot of fun to watch but they give back to their community and they focus on thriving communities. And that’s part of what they do with AdventHealth, they partner with us to help the community thrive.”