WASHINGTON, April 6, 2006 – Servicemembers’ children had a chance to shoot hoops with some of the nation’s top basketball stars at the Pentagon Athletic Center today.
USA Basketball, the governing body for U.S. men’s and women’s basketball, came to the Pentagon to join the “America Supports You” program today. The hoops organization committed to a three-year effort to actively support the nation’s troops, including basketball clinics by star coaches and players for servicemembers and their children.
“USA Basketball has had a long association with the United States armed forces, and we are very proud to expand this relationship today through the ‘Hoops for Troops’ program,” Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a press conference.
“Through this program, military members and their families will be able to attend selected USA men’s and women’s basketball senior national team practices and exhibition games,” he said. “In addition, senior national teams will make visits and host clinics, like the one here today, for servicemembers and their families.”
America Supports You showcases Americans’ support for servicemembers and their families. Giambastiani noted that more than 200 grassroots organizations and more than 20 corporate sponsors have joined the program since its launch in November 2004.
Coaches and team executives had met earlier with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior Pentagon officials to celebrate the USAB-ASY collaboration.
“The ultimate goal for (USA Basketball) is not just to win a gold medal,” said national team coach Mike Krzyzewski, a 1969 West Point graduate and former Army officer. “The ultimate goal for us is to serve this country with the dignity it deserves and the class it deserves, and to serve as an example for others as to how to do it.
“That’s basically what our military is doing in harm’s way,” the Duke University basketball coach noted, “and we appreciate that. Hopefully we will be able to do that on the basketball court.”
Krzyzewski mentioned his son-in-law, who left for Baghdad yesterday to finish the last five months of his yearlong tour there. “It makes me feel good to see him and his belief in a cause and his enthusiasm to serve,” he said.
Photos of the event can be seen here.
I singled out Coach K because I am obviously partial to DBD basketball, but the article mentions other notable basketball figures as well who are a part of the “Hoops for Troops” program. I salute them all.
Here’s more on the many different ways you can help support our military and their families.