It’s a fair bit of amazing how little we hear about some of the more charitable aspects of NBA players lives. To be fair, when Bucksketball gets the average e-mail about a player doing an event at the local mall or building a home for Habitat for Humanity, we don’t shine much light on it. Shame on us.
Sadly enough, in general, people aren’t always super interested in what players are doing for the community or their home town. Sports fans are more of the, “HOW IS THAT HOUSE GOING TO HELP YOUR 3-POINT PERCENTAGE?!” type. There’s sort of an expectation that players are going to try and do some good with the money they’ve been blessed with, which makes sense on some level, but shouldn’t leave us so cold when guys work hard to make the lives of other people better.
We’ve heard an incredible amount of conversation this summer around Brandon Jennings potentially signing a contract extension, about the whole process in general and whether or not the Milwaukee Bucks are interested, yet most probably only heard a mention of his donation of a basketball court in his home town of Compton, California for the second off season in a row.
It’s great that Jennings has worked so hard in the community of Compton in each of the past two summers to make it a better place. He’s doing the same kinds of things in Milwaukee and it’s commendable. We tend to care more about how frequently a player fails in crunch time or if they are creating a divide in the locker room or who is better than whom. It’s important for the sake of discussion, but does it really matter?
And Jennings isn’t the only one heading back to his roots and putting in some hard work contributing.
Admittedly, we don’t have all the information on what’s going on, so we apologize if some of what we present here is inaccurate. But from what we’ve gathered, Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute has partnered up with the NBA Cares program, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison and retired player Dikembe Mutumbo to visit the Nardikonyen Children Rescue Center, St. Monica’s Girls’ School in Lodwar, Africa, and the Kekuma Refugee camps, on behalf of UNICEF.
While they were there, the ambassadors spent the vast majority of their time with kids, both entertaining with basketball clinics and contributing on a more serious level by administering polio vaccines.
This very brief blog posting and the pictures I’ll attach with it don’t even come close to doing this effort justice. In this age of sports media and fandom, we gravitate so much quicker to stories of failure, hilarity, or controversy. We only shoot a quick glance at the positive end of the spectrum, and even then we still may put a “well at least he’s staying out of trouble unlike Player X” spin on it.
Preaching aside, what Mbah a Moute and company did was a really great gesture, given that most players at this point are gearing up to start training camp within the next month or so. These players are such massive inspirations to kids all around the world, that the act of just being there can surprise them.
Additionally, Mbah a Moute is heading to South Africa along with Bucks assistant coach Jim Boylan and a number of other NBA players, coaches and executives to conduct a camp with some of South Africa’s top basketball players. From the Milwaukee Bucks:
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced today the contingent of NBA representatives set to lead 60 of the top young basketball players from across Africa for Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa, and two Milwaukee Bucks highlight the group.
Forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, a native of Cameroon, returns to the program after previously participating as both a camper (2003) and an NBA player coach (2009 and 2010), while assistant coach Jim Boylan has joined the group as well.