Pacers forward Lavoy Allen knows what it would have meant to him as a child to get to meet an NBA player.
"I remember when I was in elementary school and our high school (basketball) team came to our elementary school," Allen said. "I was amazed. Our high school team — that was like Michael Jordan to me."
So now when he gets to interact with kids, Allen tries to make sure he gives them the best experience possible.
On Monday, Allen took time out of his busy schedule to visit the Wheeler-Dowe Boys and Girls Club in Indianapolis. As part of the Indiana Pacers “Season of Giving,” Allen distributed Thanksgiving turkeys to 100 area families selected by the Boys and Girls Club.
PHOTO GALLERY: Allen Distributes Turkeys to Local Families »
But Allen's visit to the Boys and Girls Club was much more than a photo op. Allen spoke to the children at the club and fielded an array of questions from the kids who were eager to learn more about the professional athlete in their midst.
Allen then led some of the older children in drills on the court. He challenged the kids to try to shoot over his 6-foot-9 frame, playfully blocking a few shots that didn't have the requisite arc. One young girl challenged Allen to a game of one-on-one, where she showcased her between-the-legs crossover to beat Allen to the hoop.
After the kids had gotten up enough shots, Allen headed into the room next door to help distribute a pizza dinner, courtesy of Papa John's. After dinner, Allen spent the rest of the evening handing out turkeys, posing for pictures, and signing autographs, making sure that each child present had a positive experience.
Allen's appearance at the Boys and Girls was the first of several holiday events that Pacers players and coaches will participate in this year. On Thursday, David and Lesley West will host over 650 men, women and children from Central Indiana shelters for a warm, home-cooked holiday meal at the 17th annual "Come to Our House" Thanksgiving Dinner presented by US Foods.
Growing up in Philadelphia, Thanksgiving was always one of Allen's favorite holidays, both for the array of food options and the opportunity to spend quality time with family and loved ones. As such, Allen recognizes the importance of ensuring that as many families as possible get to enjoy a proper Thanksgiving dinner.
"A lot of people aren't as fortunate as us," Allen said. "So just doing what we can, just giving back, even the smallest thing means a lot. So whenever we can, we try to give back to the community."
Check back soon for photos and a video recap from Lavoy Allen's visit to the Wheeler-Dowe Boys and Girls Club.