Hoops Ambassadors Gasol, Wade, Howard, Love, Blake, Gay, Lee and Coach Karl Recruit Fans to Get in the Game to Support St. Jude
MEMPHIS, Tenn., March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The NBA and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® are gearing up to score big in the fight against childhood cancer during Hoops for St. Jude Week, which tips off on March 4 and continues through March 11. The NBA, St. Jude, national sports media and league stars will recruit fans to support the hospital and its mission of finding cures and saving children through donations, an exclusive online auction and school fundraisers.
Hoops for St. Jude, an NBA Cares community partner program, is an annual season-long fundraising and awareness campaign. Program ambassadors including Pau Gasol and Steve Blake (Los Angeles Lakers), Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat), Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), David Lee (Golden State Warriors) and Coach George Karl of the Denver Nuggets, have each committed to donating a minimum $20,000 to support the life-saving work of St. Jude, where no child is denied treatment because of a family's inability to pay.
"I have been extremely blessed in my life, and I like to show my gratitude by giving back to others. What can be better than helping children with cancer?" said Howard, who is a first-year ambassador. "I encourage all NBA fans to help the Hoops team give hope to the kids of St. Jude. Let's team up and beat childhood cancer."
In addition to donating to St. Jude, ambassadors took a time out from basketball to meet with St. Jude patients, giving them some one-on-one encouragement. Wade met patients last fall and again this week while Gasol and Blake visited patients at the hospital in February. Earlier this week, Howard met with patients in Orlando. Also in February, Lee met nine-year-old St. Jude patient Sydney after a team practice and was able to show her a few basketball moves on the court.
"As an NBA player, you can get consumed with the day-to-day aspects of the season," said Lee. "But spending time with Sydney really put things in perspective. She has an amazing spirit and energy."
Fans can get into the game by visiting hoopsforstjude.org to make a monthly or one-time donation to St. Jude. Other key plays during Hoops Week include:
- Bid for Hope: Fans can log onto hoopsforstjude.org and bid on exclusive autographed basketball memorabilia and items donated by Hoops team members and other league standouts such as Steve Nash and Chris Paul.
- Tune into TNT and NBA TV: NBA broadcast partners TNT and NBA TV will assist in national awareness of the program through special broadcast segments and player interviews.
- Coaches Lend Support: NBA coaches throughout the league will wear St. Jude lapel pins during the week in support of Coach Karl, a two-time cancer survivor, and the patients of St. Jude.
- Schools Joining the Hoops Team: In conjunction with the week-long celebration, students around the country are participating in a school-based Hoops for St. Jude program, which encourages physical activity while raising funds for St. Jude. Students will learn and practice basketball fundamentals using a curriculum designed by Coach Karl.
- "Twitter"view with Kevin Love: NBA fans can chat one-on-one with Kevin Love about his support of St. Jude and his love for the game of basketball during a special Twitter interview on Thursday, March 10 through the NBA's Twitter account.
"Through the support of the ambassadors and the NBA, Hoops for St. Jude serves as a national platform in sharing the St. Jude mission of finding cures and saving children to millions of NBA fans," said Richard C. Shadyac, CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. "We hope NBA fans will join the Hoops team and give hope to thousands of St. Jude patients fighting cancer and other deadly diseases."
For more information about the program and to view new video clips of the Hoops ambassadors with St. Jude patients, visit hoopsforstjude.org.
About St. Jude
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. St. Jude was also named the nation's top children's cancer hospital in the 2010-11 Best Children's Hospitals rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, go to www.stjude.org and follow St. Jude on www.facebook.com/stjude and www.twitter.com/stjude.
About NBA Cares
NBA Cares is the league's social responsibility initiative that builds on the NBA's long tradition of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world. Through this umbrella program, the NBA, its teams and players have donated more than $150 million to charity, completed more than 1.5 million hours of hands-on community service, and created more than 560 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play, in 22 countries on five continents. NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: KaBOOM!, Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital