Spurs host thousands from Uvalde for game vs Pelicans – San Antonio Express-News

Spurs host thousands from Uvalde for game vs Pelicans – San Antonio Express-News

The Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl listens to an elementary student as they play together during a practice held Saturday at Uvalde High School’s Harvey Kinchlow Gym.
One day after spending an afternoon in Uvalde seeking to bring “positive vibes” to a community shattered by violence, the Spurs hosted 1,000 residents from the town at Sunday’s preseason game against New Orleans.
“In Texas, we are one big community,” forward Keldon Johnson said. “We want to support them any way we can — forever and ever.”
Johnson and his teammates kicked off a day of events Saturday in Uvalde with a practice that included playing with elementary students on the court while family members cheered and took photographs from the stands.
Following the workout, students and their families attended a free gathering in the school’s courtyard that included local vendors, games, prizes, food, a petting zoo and photographs with the Spurs’ Coyote.
The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas also was on hand to offer support to children and families seeking healing after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School on May 24.
Spurs at Jazz
When/where: 8 p.m. Tuesday at Salt Lake City.
Radio: 1200 AM.
Capping Saturday’s community-impact events was a basketball clinic hosted by the Spurs Sports Academy for third through sixth graders.
“We are honored and grateful that Uvalde has welcomed us into their city,” said Kara Allen, chief impact officer for Spurs Sports & Entertainment. “They’re our neighbors, and we will continue to move ahead as caring and supportive neighbors.
SS&E, in conjunction with the San Antonio Area Foundation, is managing a “Sport for Healing” fund filled by the Spurs, the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks, the Dallas Stars and the Houston Rockets to provide long-term support for the Uvalde community by creating and investing in trauma and healing-centered care for youth and families.
The fund will be anchored around sports and building safe places, including community outdoor play areas, where young people can play and heal through on-the-ground mental wellness and counseling resources, according to a press release.
“We believe sport is healing, and while we know a day of joy doesn’t erase pain, anger or loss, we as an organization want to walk alongside everyone as they heal and thrive together,” Allen said.
Whether he’s in Uvalde or participating in a community event on the West Side, where he’s established strong ties since the Spurs drafted him in 2019, Johnson views such charitable activities as a way to express his gratitude for all he’s been given.
“I know I am in a fortunate and blessed situation, so I don’t take it for granted,” he said. “Giving back any way I can, whether it’s going to events like this, I am down for it. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am.”
Johnson called it an “honor and a blessing” to play for a franchise known for being a good corporate citizen.
The franchise’s leaders — coach Gregg Popovich, CEO R.C. Buford and general manager Brian Wright — set the give-back tone, Johnson noted.
“For me as a young man, someone who is still growing as a man, it’s definitely big to have great people around me,” he said.
McDermott takes to new status
Doug McDermott continues to adjust to his role as one of the team’s elder statesmen.
The only player on the Spurs training camp roster older than the 30-year-old McDermott is forward/center Gorgui Dieng, 32. Both players have January birthdays.
“Obviously, being 30 and being one of the oldest guys is pretty crazy,” McDermott said. “I probably look younger than a lot of them too, to be honest. But it has been good. The knees are a little sore at times once you hit the 30s, but it’s great being able to kind of step into a leadership role with J Rich (29-year-old Josh Richardson) and ‘G’ (Dieng) and (center) Jakob (Poeltl, who turns 27 on Saturday).
“It’s been fun, it’s been different, but we are having a blast with it and we are going to continue to have fun all year and try to win some games.”
Spurs hosting blood drive
The Spurs, in conjunction with South Texas Blood & Tissue, will host a blood drive from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the AT&T Center.
All donors will receive a Halloween T-shirt, but the first 400 will get a pair of tickets to the Spurs’ regular season opener against Charlotte on Oct. 19, when the club will celebrate Manu Ginobili’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball of Fame.
For more information, go to https://biobridgeglobal.org/donors/events.
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Twitter: Tom_Orsborn
After three years as a part-time employee covering mainly high school sports, Tom Orsborn became a full-time employee at the Express-News in October 1985. He’s covered the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL since 1999 and has also covered the Spurs, the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, and a variety of other events, including 14 Super Bowls.

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