Thanks to the Dallas Heroes Foundation many Special Olympics athletes got to spend the day playing basketball with Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd.
“There’s nothing bigger and better to see than the kids smiling and having a good time,” said Jason Kidd.
“Today is the greatest day of the year for the heroes,” said Dallas Heroes Foundation Chairman Charlie McKinney.
The Heroes Foundation and Kidd hosted the basketball clinic at the Mark Cuban Heroes Basketball Center in Oak Cliff. Originally a run-down YWCA, the building is now a first-class facility because of donations by Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban and McKinney.
“It’s in South Dallas in a tough neighborhood and we decided we were going to put some money into it and make it the finest basketball facility certainly in Dallas and hopefully in the country,” said McKinney.
The building boasts an NBA-sized court, a workout and training facility, and an academic area complete with computers and learning tools is almost complete. The Heroes’ goal is to create a place where youth can learn how to be better athletes, students and individuals, and McKinney says Kidd was eager to help from the beginning.
“He said hey Charlie if I can do anything at all for Heroes I will, and so this was a natural,” said McKinney.
Kidd spent the day teaching children the skills that took him to the NBA.
“We all were kids at one point and taking out the time to give some instruction and maybe some advice that maybe one or two kids catch on to, maybe one of them can take my job someday,” said Kidd.
Along with Kidd, Heroes participants volunteered their basketball knowledge during the clinic.
“They love the sport,” said Dallas Heroes Foundation Volunteer Ridge Shipley. “I can see it in their eyes and the way they play and I just know when they come out here there’s nothing they are going to worry about. They just come out and play and I like it.”
McKinney says seeing the Heroes kids interact with the Special Olympians is an important moment for him. It’s a big part of what makes the day successful.
“We’ve done this a few years in a row and it’s the one thing that our Heroes kids come back each year and say I want to do that again,” said McKinney.
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