A little over a month ago, the clamoring Thunder faithful made sure Carmelo Anthony experienced a big, warm welcome when he landed at the Will Rogers World Airport.
So after learning about a local family in need, Anthony took his first opportunity to don the blue Thunder Cares shirt over his hoodie and made sure he returned the love.
On Thursday afternoon, the 6-foot-8 forward landed a new eager sidekick in 8-year-old Rene Dominguez Jr.
Anthony spent time with the bespectacled boy, who goes by Junior, along with his mother,Dian Dominguez, and his two sisters in tow -- Anahi Garcia, 15 and Izabella Dominguez, 6 -- to stock up on groceries, thanks to Homeland.
“It’s a community. People here make you feel accepted, make you feel wanted and make you feel appreciated,” Anthony said. “In return, the best thing we can do is say thank you and show that we appreciate the people here in OKC.”
Anahi’s father recently passed away, leaving Dian and grandparents to care for the three children.
For Anthony, this was a chance to not only help out with the grocery bill, but also to connect with the family by delivering smiles, laughs and hugs all around.
“A lot of times when you’re not hands-on, you don’t feel the effect," he said. "So to get a chance to be intimate in a spot like this with the family here; we can go aisle to aisle in a supermarket and pick food. It means a lot more than just giving somebody something.”
Over the years, Anthony has made it a point to serve families and underprivileged youth through his charity foundation, netting him recognition for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award.
Recently, Anthony led relief efforts in Puerto Rico initiated with his own donation of $50,000.
While Anthony’s exploits on the court has earned headline-ready status ever since he set foot inside an NBA arena, his deeds off it equally showed his compassion for helping others in need.
From Anthony’s perspective, his passion to help others was fueled by the plight of his upbringing in Brooklyn and Baltimore. Anthony wanted to make sure kids like Junior get a helping hand.
“I remember when I was young I used to always want people to come back to my community. People who made it out never came back,” said Anthony. “Being able to be in this situation by giving back and helping people out, it was a no-brainer for me.”
Watch: Carmelo Anthony Takes Family on Shopping Spree