Suns Spread Joy During Holiday Season at Phoenix Children's Hospital
The Phoenix Suns spent their off day putting smiles on the faces of kids and families at Phoenix Children’s Hospital on Tuesday as they spent the afternoon visiting, playing games and spreading joy during the holiday season.
Mikal Bridges, Jevon Carter, Ty Jerome, Cam Johnson, Frank Kaminsky, Elie Okobo and Dario Šarić all assisted in giving back to the community as they gave the children an experience they’ll never forget. While the youngsters knew the Suns were coming, their reaction to the players twice their size walking through the door was priceless.
“It was great seeing the look on the kids' faces,” Johnson said. “They light up a little bit when they’re talking about their favorite books or what games they like to play. You can see a little spark in their eyes and it's really cool to see.”
The players entered the area known as “The Zone” as the activities began. Each player seemed to make special individual connections with the children who were in awe to meet some of their idols.
Johnson and Kaminsky played a card game with a young girl and her family as the five of them were able to enjoy the afternoon with laughter and a little competition.
“My favorite part today, we played Hedbanz,” Johnson said, “A game where you put a little card on your head and you have to ask everybody else what you are. I played it with a little girl and she was really good. It got pretty competitive. but there was some good play and it was a lot of fun.”
Okobo and Šaric took over on the PlayStations as they each went head-to-head against the children with a little NBA 2K action. Carter swapped a basketball with a puck as he brought his tenacity to the air hockey table as one-by-one the children challenged him.
Bridges and Jerome played in The Zone before venturing out to individual children’s rooms. There, they were able to surprise kids as they gifted stuffed gorillas and spent time visiting them bedside.
“I think it's just the joy that you bring the families,” Kaminsky said. “Obviously, it's unfortunate that a lot of these kids are in the hospital, but just us being here, you can see how much it brightens up their day, how excited they are to play with us. Just hang out with us for a little while and get away from everything. It's just really cool for us to give back to the community and know that just us being here can brighten up someone's day.”
The children took photos with the team as well as received autographs from the players, but the time spent hanging out with their idols one-on-one seemed to be what mattered most. While the experience meant a lot to the children, it also meant a lot to the players as well as they too got to experience they joy of giving back to the community that supports them.
“Just brings you a little happiness too,” Jerome said. “Trying to make them smile and try to bring some brightness to their day.”