The start of this NBA season is particularly intriguing with all the personnel moves this offseason and the shift of power in the conferences. But more impressive than the excitement on the court is the display of caring and sharing that has been going on off the court.
The NBA season kicked off last week, and Miami Heat fans were anxiously awaiting the debut of the team’s newest star, Jimmy Butler.
It was a sold-out crowd that would have to wait a little bit longer, as Butler missed the opening night due to undisclosed personal reasons.
But the show must go on. And it did.
Rookies Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro and Chis Silva would shine in Butler’s absence for a combined 46 points.
It wasn’t pretty at first, as the team appeared to be a little lost without their leader. Yet they were able to find themselves in the fourth quarter going on a 24-1 run to defeat the Memphis Grizzles 120 to 101 at AmericanAirlines Arena last Wednesday night.
Nothing like a come-from-behind win to keep the fans hyped about the season.
Another way to keep the fans happy is by showing them direct love.
The NBA has a program called NBA Cares and though these players are retired, they are carrying on that tradition in their own way.
Good things usually come in threes.
Here are three of some of your favorite former NBA players showing their range for the communities.
Home court advantage
Former Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal’s home game is strong. He saw an opening and he slammed it down.
His random act of “Shaqness” as he calls it came on the heels of a tragic moment that happened back in August of this year.
A teen by the name of Isaiah Wood and his friend were walking home from a high school football game and little did he know that day would be the last walk that he would ever have. Two teens began shooting and Wood, caught in the crossfire, was struck by a stray bullet leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
Due to his injury, Isaiah needed a wheelchair-accessible home. And who was there waiting in the post – none other than big man, Shaquille O’Neal.
Recently, the sports analyst recently went for the slam dunk.
Shaq sprung for a year’s worth of rent on the family’s new home in Clayton County ,Georgia. He even bought them new furniture to boot.
O’Neal not known for his free-throw shooting, finished off the foul on this play with the nothing but net.
His airness and opportunity
Although he never played for the Miami Heat, Michael Jordan does have his No. 23 jersey number retired in the Heat’s arena.
The NBA legend has been spreading the wealth lately.
We were used to seeing his airness perform great feats on the basketball court, but his latest– possibly his greatest –feats have been in his communities.
When Hurricane Dorian struck and destroyed parts of the Bahamas, Jordan (having a home on the island) jumped in and donated $1 million in disaster relief aid.
And for his next G.O.A.T. feat, the Charlotte Bobcats’ owner decided to delve into the medical field.
Mike opened a clinic to serve the uninsured and underinsured called the Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic.
In his speech at the grand opening he said, “The clinic is about making an impact that will be paid forward in the city.”
“The money is not an issue for me; it’s the commitment to be able to make a difference and make an impact,” he said. Indeed, it is not, but surely the North Carolina community is grateful.
His latest contribution is part of a back-to-back play, started a couple of years when he donated $7 million to Novant Health to build a state-of-the-art facility in Charlotte’s Westside and a second facility to be built in the future.
All Star Drive
It may not be a cure for cancer or anything like that but bringing convenience and joy to someone’s day is also something that we all need in these busy and trying times.
Retired Heat star Chris Bosh has many talents beside being a great athlete. He taught himself to play the guitar. He taught himself another language. And at times, you can catch him breaking down and analyzing plays on his best-known subject – basketball.
Though he can no longer drive the lane as a professional basketball player, Bosh is still driving the lanes for some lucky car-buying fans.
The 11-time all-star is one of five players tapped to be a part of the partnership between the NBA and CarMax for the advertising campaign called the “All Star Surprise Test Drive” to promote their new Home Delivery service. The service brings a personalized car buying experience right to the customer’s door. You can take a test drive, buy and have a car delivered to your home. The surprise part of the campaign…is having a NBA All Star come to take you on the test drive.
Exhilarated Heat fan Ella Hightower was the lucky recipient of a test drive delivered to her home by the two-time champ and had just one request: “I’ll take all three of the Big Three delivering the car next time.”
Not a bad way to meet one of your favorite basketball players.
Good things happen when All Stars align.