A Day of Charity for Clippers

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Front and center: Members of the Los Angeles Clippers and soldiers representing the U.S. Army (NBA Hoops for Troops) show their support for the community. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

LOS ANGELES-There is an old saying that says charity begins at home. Well, the Los Angeles Clippers have been pretty good on that front in taking care of communities that support them in and around the Los Angeles area. Saturday, Oct. 26, was no different for the ballclub as members of the Los Angeles Clippers, including coach Doc Rivers, took time out of their busy schedule to roll down to South Los Angeles to help pass out food, shoes and other personal items to more than 1, 600 families in need.

Star point guard Chris Paul spoke about how exciting it was to be there in the trenches helping out those families.

“This event is amazing,” Paul said. “Not only do we get an opportunity to get out here and to see a lot of these fans and impact these families…were here. We’re actually here. We just didn’t send something over. We say this all the time for all people-time is the most valuable thing that you have. Our team really enjoy doing things like this.”

The line was long and wrapped around the Salvation Army building on Central Avenue in South Los Angeles with streams of adults, children and families waiting patiently in the hot sun to receive an early holiday gift that  awaited them. Saturday was a good day in more ways than one for more those families.

Not only were they  recipients of the genuine charity ushered out on behalf of the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation, Feed the Children, Playstation, Vita Coco and Soles 4 Souls, those individuals picked up an extra treat by getting up close and personal with members of the Los Angeles Clippers team. Members of the U.S. Army also took part in the event as part of the military partnership with NBA Hoops for Troops.

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Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin greets and shakes hand with a young fan. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

Blake Griffin,  Jamal Crawford, Paul and the entire roster made their way to Salvation Army Siemon Family Youth & Community Center to do their charitable deeds. Long before “Lob City” came into fruition, long before they became the glamour team that they are today as a superstar-powered franchise with Griffin and Paul in tow, the Clippers have always had a strong connection with communities that are sometimes forgotten about or overlooked.

Paul has a special affinity with the area and the Salvation Army Simeon Family Youth & Community since this was the first charitable organization he stopped in on when he first arrived in Los Angeles.

“This particular place holds a special place to me because this is the first place I came once I was traded here from New Orleans,” Paul said. “There are so many great kids here and it’s always great to be around.”

The smiles and hugs that greeted team members from members of the community says it all about the appreciation players felt by simply just being there. Griffin was amazed to see so many financially struggling individuals and families  in the community show up at the event.

“It’s crazy to see,” Griffin said. ” But it is also a very humbling experience to realize that whatever you have going on in your life in basketball…that’s all on the backburner and that’s not really that important. It makes me feel thankful for everything we’ve been blessed with as players and humbled to come and share this experience.”

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Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and members of the U.S Army. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

Bobby and Tomika Bardwell have been living in the area for nearly 10 years. Bobby Bardwell is unemployed and a diabetic. It’s been a struggle for the Bardwells to make ends meet for their family. This event proved to be a blessing for the couple.

“It’s kind of hard right now,” Bobby Bardwell said. “This will really help us with Thanksgiving, help us put food on the table. This will help out a lot. We came out and we appreciate what the Clippers are doing. It’s hard time right now in the community. Everybody can use a little something. It’s nice for the community. I really appreciate what they (Clippers) are doing in the community.”

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1389 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.