OAKLAND — Harrison Barnes got good news Wednesday: He had been selected to play in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge as a part of All-Star Weekend.
But the real stars were the kids that got to run drills and shoot hoops with Barnes Wednesday evening at the Warriors practice facility.
As a part of NBA FIT Live Healthy Week, Kaiser Permanente, the Golden State Warriors, and Barnes teamed up to host around 60 kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland and the East Bay Agency for Children for a night of showing off their skills on the court and learning about living healthy and staying active.
Barnes, one of seven members of the 2013 NBA FIT Team, walked through his familiar practice space with a smile from ear to ear.
Barnes said events like the Kaiser Permanente Get Fit Hoops & Health Clinic help keep things in perspective, even on a day when he was honored as an NBA Rising Star:
“Obviously the Rising Stars is a nice individual accomplishment but it’s always important to make sure that your giving back to the kids of the city, not only that you’re in, but kids all over the U.S.”
Barnes is no stranger to the Boys and Girls Club. He said he spent a lot of time there, growing up in Ames, Iowa. He even attended an autograph signing with members of the Chicago Bulls while with the Boys and Girls Club, and remembers how excited he was:
“That was like my very first experience [with the NBA]. I remember I was all geeked up, I had the jersey, I had the hat and all that getting it signed and I remember how much that meant to me as a kid and just giving back is something I like.”
As the kids ran through defensive and shooting drills, Barnes was laughing with them and giving out high fives left and right. Afterward, Barnes and all the kids gathered on the sideline and listened to Dr. Venkateshwar E. Kapur from Kaiser Permanente talk about nutrition and the importance of healthy living.
The kids were quizzed on what they learned and correct answers were rewarded with autographed Warriors’ basketballs, pictures, and shoes.
Barnes watched the excitement on the kids faces, and remembered what it was like when he was their age, and how lucky he is to be on the other side of it today:
“You definitely have a much greater appreciation for what you do, and the kind of platform you have, and you just don’t ever want to take advantage of that.”