NBA Cares All Star Day of Service
Where Marc Gasol and Kevin Love lay sod, and LaMarcus Aldridge helps the Commish install a mailbox.
by Brendan Bowers / @StepienRules
The NBA family was out in full force on Friday, lending a collective hand to families of the Greater Orlando area who both needed and welcomed their efforts. The NBA Cares All Star Day of Service included the refurbishing of eight different places at three different sites, all designed to improve the way area kids and their families Live, Learn, and Play.
I came through the Live Site, a five home strip on Steyr Street, around 3pm after the NBA All Star Caravan had been rolling through working to refurbish those homes in that area all day. While there, I first caught up with All Stars Kevin Love and Marc Gasol.
Love was working alongside Marc Gasol, installing sod in the front yard of one of the homes, and I asked him how getting his landscaper on was working out.
“It’s been going good so far,” said Love. “The hardest thing is just bending down from 6-9 or 6-10 to pick things up actually,” he said with a laugh.
“But it’s all in a day’s work. It feels good to be out here doing it.”
When I asked how his partner Gasol was doing out there, Love said the Memphis big man was running the show actually.
“Marc’s doing well out here man. He’s acting like it’s easy. But seriously, he’s doing a great job, and I think everyone out here is doing a great job. It’s been a fun day.”
Marc stopped short of saying he was running the sod install show though, but agreed that the experience had been rewarding.
“No, no. I’m not running the show,” Gasol replied. “It’s definitely been a lot of fun though, and it’s great to help out. Working out here with Kevin’s been alright too, he’s doing alright over there.”
Gasol also said it wasn’t hurting him as much getting down to the ground either, even though he’s taller than Love.
“He’s right, it is a long way down,” said Gasol. “But I’m used to having to get low. We’re used to that grind down there in Memphis.
“But what’s been great out here is just seeing hundreds of people helping each other, going shoulder to shoulder to help the community.”
A couple houses down, while Gasol and Love were finishing up the yard, LaMarcus Aldridge was putting the finishing touches on a mailbox he just installed.
“I can’t take all the credit,” Aldridge said as he stepped back to admire the installation of a mailbox he just wrapped up. “I came in, helped mix the cement, poured the cement in, put the mailbox pole down, leveled it out, poured the cement around it, and then put the sand down. Now, it looks good.”
It wasn’t the first mailbox LA installed either, he went on to tell me. “When I was in New Orleans I installed some mailboxes there too,” he said. “We actually put the mailbox part together there though, so this pre-assembled mailbox, just having to attach it to the pole, it was easy for me at this point.”
Installing mailboxes wasn’t exactly easy for Commissioner David Stern though. He came through a few minutes later on while I was still there, and after sharing some nice words with the families who’s homes his League was helping rebuild, Stern bent down to put the last mailbox in himself.
He was having a lot of trouble with it though, and said something about needing a different screwdriver before Aldridge stepped in to bail him out.
“Here, let me help you with that,” LA said to the Commish as he approached the mailbox right next door to the last one he put up.
Then after Aldridge did just that, securing the mailbox part to the pole beneath it, Stern thanked him in front of the media gathered around.
“Thank you for your help young man,” Stern told Aldridge. “And I’m really happy you are an All Star this season. You definitely deserve it.”
He was also happy that LaMarcus was there to help him with the mailbox too, I think. No telling how long it would’ve taken otherwise.