These athletes made the most of giving for the holidays

January 17, 2017

The holiday season has ceased. Christmas decorations are almost put away. Pine needles are everywhere. People have gone back to their daily routines. Some will have horror stories about mommy kissing Santa Claus. Some will have feel-good stories about how they were able to give back during the 2016 holiday, many athletes among them. Here are 10 athletes who gave in undefeated and unique ways.

Two-time NBA All Star Baron Davis and The Black Santa Companyteamed up with former NFL All-Pro Marshawn Lynch and Beast Mode Apparel to spread some holiday cheer. The two sponsored a toy drive, fundraiser and a pop-up shop with Black Santa merchandise giveaways. Special guests included artist Too $hort. Thousands of toys were donated to nonprofit agencies including The East Oakland Collective, EOYDC and Serenity House.

Participants brought wrapped gifts to be donated to charity and got a chance to shop for exclusive Black Santa merchandise and take pictures with Davis, the Black Santa mascot, Lynch and Too $hort. Proceeds from the pop-up shop benefited the Fam 1st Family Foundation. Their foundation’s mission complements The Black Santa Company’s mission of giving year-round and doing good for others.

Black Santa is more than a brand — it is a movement that touches on personal cultural elements such as tradition, religion and race, using cultural relevance. It centers on diversity, inclusiveness, giving back and bringing people together.

“With all that’s going on in this country, and particularly in the African-American community, I want to offer heroes and role models through storytelling,” Davis said. “Black Santa is the first character. His mission is to celebrate diversity, the joy of giving and the magic of good. He’s here to bring people together and have fun.”

  • Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James surprised the winning couple from the NBC game show he produces, The Wall. They won $1.3 million on the show just in time for Christmas. He shared the video on Facebook.

LeBron James Family Foundation teamed up with Little Tikes and delivered more than 6,000 toys to students at all 30 Akron Public Schools just in time for Christmas. Thousands of students ranging from preschool to second grade were recipients of the gifts. From LeBron James Mini Hoop Basketball sets to Bratz dolls, Tumble Trains, Tire Twisters, and Cozy Coupe Multi color rugs for every preschool classroom, these student’s holiday had some extra padding.

Just in time for the holidays New York Knicks guard Carmelo Anthony hosted more than 100 children on behalf of his foundationat the private screening of Illumination Entertainment’s new animated film Sing at the Regal E-Walk Theater in New York.

  • The Roc Nation athletes, along with a few of the label’s artists, came full throttle for the holiday season. More than 2,000 children were helped through December activities ranging from donations and gifts to those most deserving across the country.

Pay Away the Layaway – a movement to raise funds to help low-income families across the country pay off layaway plans of gifts, toys, books and clothes for kids — was the beneficiary of Roc Nation’s giving. More than 124 families of all sizes had layaway bills paid off.

  • According to a news release, the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durantand the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation delivered holiday gifts to nine families at Oakland Elizabeth House, a residential transitional program for women with children who have experienced homelessness, violence, addiction or poverty. Light heavyweight champion Andre Ward surprised more than 40 families in Hayward, California, during a trip to Toys R Us and paid off their layaway balances with gifts for kids.

“To be in a position like this is a blessing. I’ve always believed it’s better to give than to receive, to be able to take the time to not only think about yourself, but help somebody else. If we can have that mentality every day, and not just the holiday season, it’ll make the world a better place. You’ve got to give back,” Ward said.

  • The Seattle Seahawks’ C.J. Prosise sent his parents as representatives to the Burlington Coat Factory store in his native of Petersburg, Virginia, to surprise 17 families with Pay Away the Layaway. Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh surprised 30 families at the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Burlington store. The Sacramento Kings’Rudy Gay helped pay off the layaway for seven families at a Kmart in his hometown of Baltimore.
  • New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and his wife, Amber, hosted the PitCCh In Foundation’s 7th Annual Holiday Party with 52 kids from the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. The night included dancing, food and a custom shopping experience through which the kids were provided with clothing, backpacks, sneakers and a bike complete with a helmet to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.
  • The Miami Heat’s Justise Winslow and his family’s foundation, Robin’s House, hosted their inaugural “D.R.E.A.M. Showcase,” a talent show for children from various Miami area schools. This one-of-a-kind event saw 25 local Miami children sing, act, dance and perform in front of a full audience at the famous Lyric Theater.
  • It wouldn’t be Roc Nation holiday without founder Jay Z contributing to the giving. The Shawn Carter Foundation hosted its Annual Holiday Toy Drive in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York. About 200 youths were given a toy for the holidays with special support by Roc Nation artists.

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