Pacers trade laughs, share knowledge to kids in NBA Cares Special Olympics

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MANILA -- Players of Indiana Pacers traded laughs and shared their knowledge to at least 60 children with special needs as the NBA, in partnership with Coca-Cola, conducted an NBA Cares Special Olympics on Wednesday.


An hour before their team practice at the Mall of Asia Arena, the Pacers became coaches for a day as they took time to teach the members of Special Olympics Philippines the basics of basketball like dribbling, shooting and passing.

“It was great [experience.] It’s always a good opportunity to be able to impact these young people,” said veteran Pacer David West.

All of the players were split into four stations around the MOA Arena court: West, among others, manned the shooting clinic while Luis Scola, Jalen Rose, Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert taught the kids the proper lateral moves when playing defense.

Sefu Bernard, director of Basketball Operations for NBA Asia, teamed up with George Hill to instruct the proper way of passing the ball while Paul George and five-time NBA champion Ron Harper were tasked to enhance the dribbling skills.

“It’s always a good opportunity to be able to impact these young people. Even though we understand that they have some disabilities, they don’t allow that to kill their joy. They’re  very energetic,” West told reporters later on.

Every time the groups moved on to another station, the kids would “clap, clap, step” their way to a different part of the court and the NBA players gamely stomped along with them.

“When we interact with people, we wanna make sure they come away feeling good about who they are,” West also said.

Some of those special kids were exceptional at handling the leather and even impressed  the NBA stars, while the others had fun even by just simply running up and down the court with their towering mentors.

All of them, though, including the NBA stars, stepped off the court with smiles on their faces.