Larry Nance Jr. helping New Orleans schools, teachers meet need for supplies

If anyone from the Amazon.com company is reading this, Larry Nance Jr. would like to ask a small favor: Could you please stop locking him out of your website whenever he makes large amounts of school-related purchases? The New Orleans power forward/center is currently in the midst of helping Crescent City teachers stock up for the 2022-23 academic year with supplies, but every time the 29-year-old executes a large order, his account gets suspended. Apparently, Amazon’s security measures don’t account for a well-meaning NBA player placing bulk requests for things like pens, paper and erasers.

“I have to imagine (one of the suspensions was triggered by) the fact that in one day I bought 300 items and sent them to 30 different addresses,” a smiling Nance said this week. “It’s probably a little bit suspicious. I understand (Amazon’s) algorithm for doing that, but I’d love to just tell them, ‘Hey it’s me, leave me alone. It’s a secure account.’ I do appreciate them looking out, but it’s one of those situations where the sooner I can get you to leave me alone, the sooner I can get the help to (teachers).”

Nance’s push to provide New Orleans schools with needed supplies began Saturday with a tweet in which he asked, “New Orleans teachers … y’all got classroom needs lists? Send em.” The Ohio native never anticipated how popular the idea – or that tweet – would be, with the latter currently climbing over 1,000 retweets and 9,000 likes.

“It’s been incredible,” Nance said of the response. “I truthfully didn’t expect it to blow up like that.”

One of Nance’s primary objectives among his 2022-23 community efforts is to assist local schools that need more resources. The University of Wyoming product realized this summer that he could make an impact in that area.

“I’m working on a larger project for the New Orleans public school district this year,” the seven-year NBA veteran said. “I wanted to try to get as many teachers as I can off to the right start, with the right supplies that are needed. I was fortunate enough to grow up in classrooms that had everything we needed, but I know that’s not the case for a lot of people down here. I’m in a fortunate situation now, able to give back, so that’s where I’m going to direct my attention, to schools.”

Nance and wife Hailey are the proud parents of a toddler, something he thought about while deciding to focus on local schools.

“The school districts here are lacking a little bit of resources and some oomph behind them,” Nance explained. “I had a daughter last year. If I’m here for the extended future, I would hope we can do some good and try to bring these schools up to the standards they’d like to be at, as soon as possible.”

In the meantime, Nance may need a little help from Amazon, which in less than a week has suspended the accounts operated by Larry, Hailey and a third Larry created specifically to continue his school-supply initiative.

“I’ve gotten probably 100-plus different teachers sending their wish lists and been able to fill 35-plus teachers’ full lists,” Nance said Tuesday. “I will keep trying to do more. I’ll probably just keep making new (Amazon) accounts. Unless I can get in touch with someone at Amazon, it’s going to take me a while to get to a bunch more.”

For Nance, one of the most fun aspects of his project has been seeing other people decide on their own to join in assisting New Orleans schools and teachers. It brings a smile to his face when he opens social media and sees that someone else was inspired to donate supplies.

“The coolest part is every now and again I’ll be looking for a new list to fill and I see a random person say (to a teacher), ‘Bought you a few books. Enjoy this school year,’ ” Nance said. “It’s people starting to chip in and help these teachers, to get the supplies they need to make the classroom a fun environment. That’s really, really cool. That’s what it’s all about: community helping community.”