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These are our heroes: athletes in the community

It’s very easy to look at this NBA lockout in many ways. One way is to say everyone involved is greedy, which some folks are doing. At least, then the conclusion that be that if there’s no season, then everyone involved is getting what they deserve.

Another way to look at it is that there are players who are making use of the extra time to do some things that mean the world to them. In the case of the reigning NBA MVP and People’s Champ, Derrick Rose, his latest deed is one that certainly fits the bill, as he ventured back to his hometown to perform some commendable deeds near his old elementary school.

Even the most hardened cynic can remember their elementary days, especially the days spent on the basketball court. Recently, Rose teamed up with Powerade to refurbish the basketball courts at the park he grew up playing near his old elementary school. He also shot the breeze with the kids from the school, played with them, posed for pictures, and took trips down memory lane.

For Rose to be able to do this at the park where he grew up playing, it not only means the world to those kids who will be able to play on a darn near perfect court, it means the world to him to see where he came from and that he’s able to make a difference for so many others.

Jalen Rose can make a similar case. He officially has a charter school under set to open tomorrow in his hometown of Detroit. Anyone who knows anything about Jalen Rose knows he is proud of where he’s from, and for him to be able to do his part to improve the education of kids in his hometown, it has to be commended.

Education is in despair all over the country, and Rose knows it. The man did his homework, made sure to do his part to ensure students and teachers would have the best access possible to each other, up-to-date resources, and additional hours and school days throughout the year. Rose isn’t talking about it; he’s being about it.

LeBron James is pretty much a staple in the community, and it’s been past the point that there should be just as much coverage given to his work as it is to other aspects of the man’s life. In our first community post, the focus was on his work in conjunction with LeBronapalooza, the name I bestowed upon The Decision and its surrounding events.

Since then, the man has had his annual bike-a-thons in Akron, which is now “The Wheels for Education,” as well as he and his foundation donating computers, athletic equipment, and funds to the Boys and Girls Club. It’s no secret; the man is all about the kids, all about improving the quality of life for them, as well as anyone else who can benefit from his commitment to the community.

Folks see Ray Lewis and see a man who can make anyone feel ready to go play football even if they don’t play, just from his excitement before the game. They see the dancing, the unbridled yelling, and the second-to-none passion the name exhibits. They see it all on the field and have for years.

The same passion he has for the game is evident by his work off-the-field with his foundation. He also took the initiative, along with Reggie Howard, to be mentors to a young boy who lost his mother and siblings in a tragic accident. The boy knows when it comes to his future, he’s not going to hurt for anything (of material value), and it’s thanks to the efforts of the man we at ETSF call Ray-Ray.

These are several stories of great deeds by athletes. There are even more out there, and even if the athletes aren’t doing this for press, it doesn’t mean these stories shouldn’t be written. One thing remains certain, though: as long as there’s a site here, they most certainly will be told.

Be easy.
-K. Masenda


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