Mitchell, Gobert Give Back To Community At All-Star Weekend
CHICAGO, Illinois – The Utah Jazz kicked off their NBA All-Star events in Chicago with appearances from Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell at the NBA Cares program. Gobert took part in the Jr. NBA’s Social Responsibility Activation event, while Mitchell appeared at the Greater Chicago Food Depository during the NBA Cares Day of Service.
The Social Responsibility event gave elementary school youths from around the Chicago area a chance to work on their basketball skills with several NBA players taking part in All-Star weekend. In addition to Gobert, Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo took part in the activities, as did Brooklyn Nets guards Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie.
“To me its the most important thing to be able to give back and inspire the next generation,” Gobert said of the opportunity. “A few years ago I was one of these kids dreaming to become an NBA player.”
Having grown up in France, access to NBA players was limited, but Gobert remembered the importance of meeting the professional players from his country.
“I used to do some basketball camps in the summertime,” Gobert said, ”It was always great to have knowledge from the professional players. I didn’t get a chance to meet NBA players as a kid but just meeting some professional players was great for me.”
The two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year made sure to give the future basketball hopefuls a taste of reality when facing the league’s most intimidating rim protector. After allowing a few layups to drop, Gobert’s competitive side took over, playfully blocking several shots from the kids of Chicago.
“I think they’ll remember (the blocks) forever,” Gobert said slyly, “You’ve got to teach them early that nothing is easy in basketball and life. I’m not trying to give them any shortcuts.”
Mitchell was able to give back to the community at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s local food bank.
Despite attending a private school growing up, much of Mitchell’s family income was put towards his education, creating a sparsity for everyday necessities.
“There were days were food was tough or clothes were tough,” Mitchell said, “So for me to be able to do something like this and be able to give back it really hits home for me. “
Mitchell was joined at the depository by Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Anthony Davis, former Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson, Former Lakers forward Robert Horry, and former Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins, among others.
“It’s easy to go out and do basketball, it’s easy to go out and shoot it,” Mitchell said of his ability to give back, “It’s things like this that are behind the scenes that people don’t really see, I wanted to tap into something that I’ve done since I was a kid, and coming to the food depository was something that was really special.”
The Jazz third-year Jazz guard understands the value of charity in the community, both on a large scale and in smaller settings.
“Impacting lives, you never know on a day what this could possibly do for someone,” Mitchell said, “You try to reach out to as many people as possible, you could try to reach a thousand people a day but it may take just that one person to change their life.”
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