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Timberwolves/Lynx academy helps military kids hone hoop skills

  • Published
  • By Capt. William-Joseph Mojica
  • 934th Airlift Wing
The 934th Airlift Wing hosted a basketball clinic Oct. 22 at the 934th Fitness Center for nearly 30 children who are dependents of wing members.

Special guest Tyus Jones, Minnesota Timberwolves player, joined the clinic and participated as the kids worked through various basketball drills.

“It means a lot to me to come out here with the military kids and just put a smile on their face and let them enjoy the game of basketball,” Jones said. “I told them basketball brought a lot of joy to my life and just being in the gym and playing, shooting or dribbling around is the best thing in the world to me. To try to bring a smile to their face and to talk to them was my focus today!”

The clinic came into fruition thanks to the United Heroes League whose goal is to keep military kids healthy and active in all sports nationwide.

The clinic also took place thanks to the Timberwolves and Lynx Academy which brings excitement of the NBA to the community. The goal of the academy is to expand the game of basketball one youth player at a time.

Troy Pearson, director of the Timberwolves and Lynx Academy, led the clinic as part of the junior NBA week.

“We wanted to do something unique and something special and so we felt it’d be great to come out here with the United Heroes League and just help give something to the kids who are sacrificing a lot,” Pearson said. We’re just trying to give back a little bit and help grow the game of basketball.”

The academy itself really strives to teach the fundamentals of basketball to all age ranges and skill levels with passion that is evident during the clinic.

“I love working with the kids and that’s what we’re all about at the basketball academy and showing them excitement gets them excited. Some of these kids, their parents are deployed now and I talked to another whose parent is leaving in a day or two. And so just to let them know that hey you can have fun and there are still things to get excited about is something I want to portray to them,” Pearson said.

“We’re real big about giving high fives and encouraging and our role is to fill their emotional tank and just get them to smile. That excites us! One kid today come up afterwards and said ‘thanks’ with a little teary-eye saying ‘my dad deploys this week!’ it was really kind of cool to know that he could have some fun with his dad today before he leaves.”