ATLANTA — A select group of enterprising youngsters from Atlanta’s After-School All-Stars program were given the VIP treatment for the Hawks-Timberwolves game on Monday, as part of the festivities celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Approximately 25 pupils from the MLK and Sylvan middle schools (grades 6-8) were rewarded for their exemplary service to the Atlanta community. In fact, many had arrived to Philips Arena after partaking in projects commemorating a National Service Day, defining Dr. King’s national holiday.
The numerous perks included an arena tour and pregame question-and-answer session with NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and Hawks broadcasters Mike “Stinger” Glenn and Bob Rathbun.
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Wilkins, the Hawks’ all-time leading scorer (23,292 points with Atlanta), impressed youngsters with tales of his high-flying days in the NBA (1982-99), including tips for handling Michael Jordan. He also got in a few plugs for the University of Georgia, just in case the kids might need a nudge when picking their college of choice — five, six or seven years from now.
Glenn, a 10-year NBA veteran (1977-87), was also happy to share stories from his playing days with the Knicks, Hawks, Bucks and Buffalo Braves (now the L.A. Clippers). While doing so, Glenn simultaneously talked and sign-languaged for the kids, revealing that he was the first NBA player to launch a basketball camp for deaf children.
Prior to speaking with Wilkins, Glenn and Rathbun, the kids met Hawks guard Devin Harris, who serves as an ASAS ambassador and Hoop Hero. As part of his long relationship with the organization, Harris will donate $10 to the ASAS for every personal point scored during the regular season.
Rounding out their day of fun, the ASAS youngsters taped a promo for SportsSouth’s Hawks LIVE, the pregame show for every Atlanta TV broadcast. After that, they got an up-close view at the taping for Hawks LIVE, before enjoying the Hawks-Timberwolves matinee in a suite.
After-School All-Stars is a national non-profit that serves inner-city youths across the country by providing daily after-school programs on school sites. In metro Atlanta alone, ASAS serves nearly 3,000 children at 15 middle schools.
These programs give kids the tools to succeed in school and in life, such as high-school readiness, service learning, career exploration and health and fitness.
Through this partnership, which has involved FOX since 2010, ASAS strives to help tackle the childhood obesity crisis (33 percent of children are obese or overweight by the third grade) by giving kids the opportunity to participate in physical activity every day. As a supplement, kids are also provided with helpful tips regarding health and nutrition.
For more information about the After-School All-Stars, click here.