NBA Star Delivers Backpacks and Smiles for Hometown Kids

Story by Somer Hanson / Photos by Chris Huber

As Jamal Crawford says on his Twitter profile, he loves basketball, but it doesn't define him.

And this popular player's actions back up his words.

Jamal Crawford smiles as a child tries on her new backpack at the basketball player's annual event in Seattle.

Even after receiving such accolades as the 2016 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award (making him the first three-time winner of the award in league history), Jamal still feels it's important to interact with the community, especially the kids.

Before gearing up for the 2016-17 season with the Los Angeles Clippers, Jamal partnered with World Vision's U.S. Programs for the 8th Annual Jamal Crawford Backpack Giveaway and School Supply Drive in his hometown of Seattle on Sept. 4.

Nearly 500 Seattle-area children received backpacks, school supplies, haircuts, and a meal at the free event. Jamal had help from World Vision staff and volunteers, along with local NBA moms, Renee Conroy and Renee Busch.

"If the kids are going to school and they have haircuts, a backpack, and all the supplies they need to be successful in school, I think they have a great foundation," Jamal says. "It gives the kids confidence ... hopefully eases a bit of the burden for the parents, and hopefully makes the community a little bit better."

NBA moms Renee Busch, right, and Renee Conroy help Jamal and World Vision volunteers distribute backpacks.

Children of all ages and grade levels received a backpack filled with supplies. Naima Yusuf, 19, read about the event online, and knew her younger siblings would greatly benefit. Receiving essential supplies took a burden off of Nawal, who is beginning her senior year, and Shamsa, who's starting seventh grade.

"It has everything I need for school," Shamsa says.

Ivari Bland arrived to the event two hours early and was first in line with her daughter and six nieces and nephews. The family of eight jumped in to help staff and volunteers set up tables and tents, as well as unload pallets of product.

Van Pham, who was next in line, expressed her gratitude for the back-to-school assistance for her two daughters.

"It's a huge help. All the school supplies and backpacks are so expensive," she says.

Seven-year-old Tramell took a break from playing basketball to share his enthusiasm for his new backpack.

"It helps me carry my supplies. It feels good!"

You can join Jamal in equipping today's students for their future with your gift to provide school supplies for kids in need.