Timberwolves’ Tolliver leads camp for Joplin kids

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver grew up about 45

minutes from Joplin, Mo., so the tornado that ripped through the

town May 23 hit very close to home.

Seeing the devastation on television, Tolliver decided to do

something to lift the spirits of a reeling community. So he plans

to hold a basketball clinic next week for children affected by the

tornado, hoping to bring a few smiles to their faces during a

trying time.

”Tons of lives were lost and tons of stuff was lost,” Tolliver

said Friday. ”People’s homes and cars and businesses and all kinds

of stuff is just gone. It is what it is, and all I can do is try to

help as much possible.”

Tolliver, who grew up in Springfield, will head to Joplin on

Monday and assist in cleanup efforts. His hoops clinic will be

Wednesday at the Sports Park of Southwest Missouri and is free for

children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The three-hour session is aimed at getting their minds off their

troubles, if only for a little while.

”This was an opportunity to give the kids a chance to get away

from all the destruction and just go have some fun for a few hours

and use basketball as a way to give back,” Tolliver said.

More than 130 people were killed in the storm, and more than

8,000 homes or apartments were damaged or destroyed.

Tolliver asked that anyone interested in helping send money to

the Abundant Life Christian Center in Joplin. Church leaders have

told Tolliver that they have received plenty of donations of food,

water and clothing and that now their biggest need is financial to

help the people in the community start putting their lives back

together.

”They need money to help people to build homes and get their

things back,” he said.

One thing the kids won’t be learning is the triangle offense, a

version of which coach Kurt Rambis has used with the Timberwolves.

It’s a complex system that has been difficult for the young Wolves

to grasp over the last two years.

”That’s a little complicated,” Tolliver said with a chuckle.

”Some of our guys didn’t get it in a whole year, so I don’t think

these kids will pick it up in three hours.”

Where to give: Abundant Life Christian Center, 6863 E. Newman

Rd, Joplin, Mo., 64801.