After the Golden State Warriors kicked off the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers last week, the Oakland team showed their community spirit as they unveiled a new NBA Cares Live, Learn & Play Zone for Oakland youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland Ossian E. Carr Clubhouse.
Players Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Shaun Livingston, Draymond Green, and James Michael McAdoo along with Coach Steve Kerr, Assistant Coach Luke Walton, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum were on site at the Boys & Girls Club in East Oakland on Friday, June 5 to reveal the new transformed space. With graphics of past Warriors games, players and inspirational quotes sprawled on the walls, the space will serve as a homework and teen center complete with a game room, new computers and game equipment.
Students from New Highland Elementary School had the chance to interact with the players and use the new computer center to answer trivia questions about the team. Coach Kerr and other Warriors staff read to kids in the new library, and Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston showed off their gaming skills.
Student Ashlyn told the Post she was excited about using the new computer center and to meet the players in person.
While the highlight for most students was seeing the Warriors in person, the message that resonated most was that of teamwork.
Attending the unveiling event on June 5, Mayor Libby Schaaf said, “I’m so happy that the young people that use this clubhouse everyday will look upon these walls and see these players, some of whom they consider superstars. But, everybody knows that what has made the Warriors successful is the fact that they work as a team and I think that is a great lesson for young people, especially here in Oakland.”
It was important for Festus Ezeli to let students know that school is important, and “hard work and persistence is what’s going to make you successful.”
“The kids are our future and a big part of childhood is learning,” said Ezeli. “I’ve had a lot of role models throughout my career who have helped me throughout the way. So, I feel like it’s my duty to, given the platform that I have through the NBA, to help other people.”
“Even though a time like this is very important for us, we still feel like we should take the time out of our day to do something beneficial to the community,” Ezeli said.
He says having afterschool activities and a positive learning environment was also helpful for him growing up.
“My school had after hours where we could all go and hang out, and do work. This is something that really was key to my childhood as well,” said Ezeli.
Cal Stanley, President of the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland and former club member, said he hopes this encourages kids to come to the club as often as they can.