BY DANIEL OFFNER
Last week, as New York City welcomed some of the biggest names in professional basketball for the start of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, league officials announced that they would reach a season-long goal: to interact with more than one million students at 100 public schools across the five boroughs.
On Feb. 13, NBA Cares – an outreach initiative addressing the importance of education, youth, family development, health and wellness – came to PS 20 in Flushing to engage students in fun, fitness and basketball-related activities.
Jewels Alcantara, an obstacle course coordinator with NBA Cares, said that on Friday, the league brought basketball clinics to 100 public schools simultaneously, each featuring several noteworthy NBA talents – from All-Stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to basketball legends like Dikembe Mutombo and Kevin Willis.
“[The NBA] has never done anything like this,” Alcantara said. “LeBron is somewhere in Manhattan. Scotty Pippen could be somewhere in Staten Island.”
NBA Cares’ Fit clinic featured several different basketball and fitness related activities for the participating students at PS 20, including an obstacle course, a jump rope station, shooting, defense and dribbling drills.
According to Alcantara, the NBA Fit clinic was one of the ways that the league wanted to give back to City students by teaching them how to be fit and energetic through a series of fun activities.
PS 20 Assistant Principal Patrick Foy said that the NBA Fit clinic was a wonderful experience for both the students and the faculty.
“The teachers have been super excited to have [the NBA] come down,” Foy said. “It has been an absolutely incredible experience.”
Foy said that he feels the clinic helped to reach students – including those from lower income families – with positive role models for health and wellness.
Reach Daniel Offner at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @DanielOffner.