Saturday, February 16, 2008

NBA All-Star 2008 - Day 6

The morning began with a breakfast with the National and International teams for Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA programs. Big Bob and I hosted the event.  The kids from the United States were chosen for not only their talent, but for their character.  The NBA also hosted the parents of the US team.  What a joy it was for me to meet such outstanding parents!  They have instilled wonderful qualities in their children--work ethic, character, and respect.  Their children will be the future of the game.  
Later in the afternoon, we hosted a press conference for Wrigley, NBA and PCA(Prevent Child Abuse).  Wrigley is following the NBA's lead in giving to New Orleans.  The are donating up to $50,000 to PCA to help prevent child abuse here in New Orleans!  
The next event was a reading rally.  I got the privilege of reading with The Berenstein Bears author, Michael Berenstein.  I made sure to get a copy of the new book, "The New Kitten" for my niece.  
As I wrap up my time here in New Orleans, I feel so blessed to be part of such a wonderful organization as the NBA.  It is certainly about much more than basketball!   They have given so much here to the city of New Orleans. 
I also glad I got to share some of this week with all of you to give you an inside look at NBA All-Star.  I hope to see you all at one of USANA's Regional Conventions!  

Friday, February 15, 2008

NBA All-Star 2008 - Day 5

What an inspirational day!!! I woke up at 5am for an NBC interview, followed by a full day of volunteer work. I was blown away by the number of volunteers who came out to help the NBA's "Day of Service."  The NBA sponsored a brand new Kaboom! court and playground, which we helped assemble.  The playground is adjacent to a school that I visited 15 years ago.  Today it is totally demolished!  We also helped on a Habitat for Humanity Build and we helped paint at a local school. I am still awestruck by the devastation here.  We have gone from neighborhood to neighborhood and all still need so much work.  I was happy to have been able to help in some way.  I am so proud to represent the NBA and WNBA as we have done so much good here. I hope other companies will follow their lead and give to this community.  I know I will be back! 
The beauty in the midst of the devastation  are the people who live here.  They are helping each other rebuild homes, and 2500 of them came out for our "Day of Service."   I am so thankful to have been a part of such a positive day!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

NBA All-Star 2008 - Day 4

We started the day with a visit to the Children's Hospital here in New Orleans.  "Big Bob" Lanier, BJ Armstrong, Willis Reed, and Olympians Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson, and Katie Smith were part of our group. We spent a couple of hours talking and interacting with the kids and their families. What touched me the most was a little boy named Seth.  I got to hold his tiny hand as he stared in awe at the athletes and got photos and autographs.  Another young lady was handing out Valentines to all of us.  Too sweet!  
Later in the afternoon we held a fitness clinic for girls at Tulane University.  We had 75 excited young girls participate!  The NBA is committed to helping youth live healthy and active lives, which is certainly a passion of mine.  Many of the top WNBA players participated in the clinic.  The kids were so excited!  
I wrapped up Valentine's Day with a dinner in The French Quarter at Brennan's restaurant.  I will need to run extra tomorrow because I ate so much fantastic food!  

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

NBA All-Star 2008 - Day 3

Today was another great day!  I am so inspired by all of the awesome community relations events.  My favorite of the day was the Wheelchair Basketball NWBA All-Star reception and clinic.  Lynette Woodard, George Gervin "The Ice Man", and other athletes did a clinic for kids who are in wheelchairs.  For most of them, it was the first time they had been on a basketball court.  The NWBA All-Stars showed them how to play in their wheelchairs.  What an experience! Each child had a smile from ear to ear as they learned how to maneuver their wheelchairs and learn techniques from the athletes.  I was in awe at the skill level of the NWBA athletes!  The most inspirational moment was seeing Courtney, age 6 and her sister, Katie, age 8(who would help Courtney in her wheelchair) having such a great time.  Every time they did a new drill with the players, they would pass by and give me a high five.
Having an experience like today, I feel so blessed to have been a part of such a positive group of people. I was supposed to be there to help them, but they truly inspired me!
I also tried the famous New Orleans jambalaya.  When I travel, I love to try local cuisine.  The food down here is absolutely fabulous.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

NBA All-Star 2008 - Day 2

Today was another great day here in Louisiana.  This morning I spoke at 8:45am at the Get Motivated Seminar in Baton Rouge.  What an incredible experience!  There were about 5,000 excited participants!  I spoke about leadership.  I truly believe we can all lead, and we can start right where we are.  I am bummed because I missed seeing Zig Ziglar as he spoke later in the afternoon, but I was thrilled to have been a part of such an amazing program. I traveled back to New Orleans immediately after I spoke. 
After arriving back in New Orleans, I went for a run. I really enjoy running when I travel. I feel much better to keep up with my fitness while I am on the road.  I simply function better when I exercise!  Durning the afternoon, I was part of an NBA court dedication to the Boys and Girls Club here in New Orleans.  The NBA has funded court renovations all over the city.  Bob Lanier and I hosted the event.  It was such a thrill to see the kids so excited over having a new basketball court!  We followed the court dedication with a kids clinic.  What a terrific day!
This evening, I experienced some New Orleans cuisine followed by a little jazz.  There is so much rich history here.  Outstanding food and great music rounded out a wonderful day. 
My schedule here is packed.  I am thankful to have my supply of USANA supplements with me to keep my energy up!      

Monday, February 11, 2008

NBA All-Star 2008 - Day 1

The first day here in New Orleans was incredible! With the Community Care Caravan, we traveled to three schools. "Big Bob" Lanier and I hosted each of the the Read to Achieve events. We traveled with NBA families (which included All-Star Chris Paul's parents) and NBA and WNBA All-Stars who are a part of the festivities and community service for the week.

The highlight of the day was a ribbon cutting for a brand new learning center, complete with state of the art computers, at the Martin Luther King School, in the lower 9th ward. the 9th ward was the most devastated durning Hurricane Katrina. The school reopened last fall against all odds. The neighborhood is completely devastated! Many of the homes are a total wreck, as if the storm was just a couple of months ago. We passed abandoned homes on the way to the MLK school which still had painted numbers on the homes to indicate the number of people and pets found after the storm. Seeing that reality was tough for me. Quite humbly, in the midst of the sad reality of a torn city, I am so proud to be here and be able to help this American landmark in some small way as they continue to strive to rebuild. Their spirit and persistence are inspirational!

We are doing so many exciting events here in New Orleans this week. We have clinics for kids, we are donating hame through Habitat for Humanity, and are having a total day of service Friday with over 2500 NBA participants! With such a busy schedule, I am happy to have my Health Pak along to give me energy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


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