Valentine’s Day is normally a day in which people go out and show their affection for those they hold closest to their hearts. For someone in grade school, it could simply mean getting a lot of Valentine’s themed candy. But for 1,000 Chicago Public School students, it meant enhancing their basketball skills with the help of some NBA players during Jr. NBA Day at Navy Pier.
Players such as NBA All-Stars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker, and more showed up to the event, where each of them was assigned one of the various courts where they would aid students from ages 7 to 14 in their basketball skills. To say that these students had the time of their lives would be an understatement.
The students weren’t the only ones enjoying themselves though. Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie, who had a short stint with the Bulls earlier in his career, told TrueStar that it was “fun” being back in Chicago and shouted out the great food culture that the city is famous for.
Chicago Bulls legend Craig Hodges, who won two titles with the team in the early ’90s, was also enjoying himself, helping children with their shooting drills and taking a lot of shots himself. When asked what impact those titles had, he stated, “Just to understand, the impact we had on the city, the city had on us. We would not have been able to do the things we did or had the success we had without the fan support we had.”
When another Bulls legend, Will Perdue, was asked the same question shortly after finishing his drills with students, he said that he enjoyed how “it brought families together” when the Bulls played in the 90s. “Every Tuesday night, or Wednesday night, or whenever the Bulls had a game, families were home watching the games. Eating together, staying together, and having fun together,” he said.
Overall, the event proved to be a huge success, seeing as every student seemed to walk out with a large smile on their face. Truly a day they won’t forget anytime soon.
By Hugo Vazquez, Senior, Brooks College Prep.