Warriors Players Unveil NBA Cares Live, Learn and Play Zone at Oakland’s Westlake Middle School
On Friday, June 5, the Golden State Warriors and the NBA unveiled the team’s 2017 NBA Finals Legacy project at Oakland’s Westlake Middle School. Warriors players Ian Clark, Damian Jones, Patrick McCaw, JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia joined NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in the Westlake Cafeteria to dedicate the three refurbished school spaces and emphasize the team’s commitment to the students in the community.
“The Finals, as incredible as they are, are a fleeting two weeks, but from the NBA’s standpoint by committing our resource to refurbishing community spaces like this Live, Learn and Play Zone, that are creating an additive experience for our neighborhoods,” said Commissioner Silver. “It’s so invaluable for young men and women to have a place to come together every day to play basketball, work on computers and participate in the arts.”
Following an opening program, the Warriors players, accompanied by Warriors Community Ambassador & Former Player Adonal Foyle, NBC Sports Bay Area Analyst & Former Player Kelenna Azubuike, NBA Cares Ambassador Jason Collins and WNBA Legends Ruthie Bolton and Jennifer Azzi, visited the school’s three refurbished spaces. Warriors Rookie Center Damian Jones, Collins and Foyle read stories and enjoyed video games with students in the school’s new computer center inside the library.
“NBA Cares is an unbelievable program which inspires students to learn and interact with their local basketball heroes, and gives us an opportunity to show this community how we care about them 365 days a year,” said Foyle.
The Warriors and Commissioner Silver also held a ceremonial ribbon cutting in the school’s renovated Family Resource Center, where students and their families utilize for cooking, laundry and as a safe space during periods of transition. Several players, including Clark, McGee and Pachulia stayed to engage with the students over video games, board games and a cooking demonstration led by Kaiser Permanente.
“I remember being in these students’ shoes and being able to hear from an NBA player and learn from them, it’s a big opportunity and I hope they go after their dreams and know they can be as successful as the people here today,” said Clark.
Warriors Rookie Guard Patrick McCaw joined the students and Warriors Junior Jam Choreographer Alan Frias for a dance clinic in the school’s newly renovated dance studio. McCaw bonded and laughed with the students over a routine of Yung Joc’s “It’s Goin’ Down.”
“Being in this position to help give back to these kids and the Oakland community is always fun and rewarding, it’s always something I wanted to be able to do growing up,” said McCaw.
The students of Westlake Middle School, with a school attendance of over 500 students in one of Oakland’s most at-risk school populations, enjoyed their afternoon with the Warriors and NBA Legends by creating memories they won’t soon forget.
“The transformation on this campus is insane, with rooms that have existed since the 1920’s being beautifully updated in a way that will benefit our students,” said Westlake Middle School Community Schools Manager Moses Omolade. “Maybe more importantly, this is a really exciting moment for me and my students that shows them that their sports heroes care about them deeply as well.”
The Warriors would like to provide a special thank you to Ikea for donating all of the new furniture for Westlake Middle School, including new kitchen fixtures in the Family Resource Center and desks in the Library.
“Thank you to Ikea for donating a kitchen to these kids, there’s so much community empowerment in this project to help our kids be greater,” said McGee. “It’s amazing what the NBA Cares program is doing and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who attended her third NBA Cares Live, Learn & Play Zone unveiling, expressed her admiration and gratitude to the Warriors for their tireless commitment and impact in the Oakland community.
“This is an amazing school in the heart of Oakland, and these students were blown away that players on their NBA Finals team came to their school to share such informational messages to work hard, take advantage of their opportunity and stay centered on their goals,” said Mayor Schaaf. “This Live, Learn & Play Zone unveiling is an example of how the Golden State Warriors don’t just show up now, but all year long for Oakland’s youth.”