Dallas Mavericks rookie swingman Justin Anderson learned Tuesday that some kids on the east side of Fort Worth have something to brag about that he never had when he was a kid.
Lots of computers and other comforts of life donated to them by a professional basketball team.
Anderson was the keynote speaker Tuesday when the Mavs unveiled the Reading & Learning Center at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Fort Worth Eastside Branch. The gifts to the kids included 30 laptop computers, four tablets, a 55-inch TV and several tables and chairs for them to enjoy themselves.
Anderson said: “This is something that I wish I would have had growing up. Just being able to come together in your community with different kids who are in your local schools, and laptops and not desktops. It’s just awesome.’’
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Anderson grew up in the tiny town of Montross, Va. He said the population was around 250 when he was a kid, and there certainly was no Boys & Girls Club for him to be a part of.
“I had a couple of friends from different towns who were involved in it,’’ Anderson said. “That’s one thing that I can’t wait to maybe share some experiences with the kids here at the Eastside location about — just friends that I grew up with and their experiences.’’
Anderson talked to the kids about reaching expectations and having goals in life, and about getting an education. He also sat down and read to them, adding that he had as much fun Tuesday as the kids in attendance.
“It means a lot to me because I was chosen to be able to come out and represent the Dallas Mavericks in the unveiling of the Reading & Learning Center here at the Boys & Girls Club, and I’m just very excited to be here,’’ Anderson said. “The energy in this building is something that’s so positive that you can feel it as soon as I walked in the door.
“I’m just very excited to continue to learn from these kids and maybe give them a piece of my thoughts.’’
Mavs assistant coach Jamahl Mosley also attended Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. It marks the 11th Reading & Learning Center the Mavs have unveiled since 1996.
“I love events like this,’’ Mosley said. “I think this is what it is all about for us – to get back in the community and to help people out and understand what we do is a small piece to what’s really important, and that’s coming back and doing things like this.’’
Things that brought the “kid’’ out of Anderson.
“This is more of a this is who I am, this is who Dallas as a community drafted, and I want them to be able to feel as personable with me as they can and this is something that I really enjoy doing,’’ Anderson said. “A lot of times it’s easier to see it in the spotlight with the cameras rolling, but this is something that I try to do on a daily basis.
“When I’m walking down the streets in Dallas I want to give a kid a high-five – he doesn’t need to know who I am. But it’s a message behind all of that, being kind and being respectful. The Southern hospitality here is already amazing, so I’m just trying to juice it up a little bit more.’’
Anderson certainly did that Tuesday with his appearance at the Reading & Learning Center at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Fort Worth Eastside Branch
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. CDT on dfwiradio.com.