After a late Friday night via international charter, the Suns and 76ers tipped off their first day in Mexico with a different kind of exhibition at Monterrey’s Irish Institute.
In conjunction with NBA Cares, a local chapter of the Special Olympics got the thrill of a lifetime when representatives from both clubs played teachers to the roughly 100 youngsters in attendance. Between running the gamut of basketball skills, including tutorials on passing, dribbling and shooting, the kids got some true hands-on tips from the pros.
“It’s always great working with the Special Olympics.” Grant Hill said. “The kids had fun, regardless if they were making the baskets. The excitement these kids show makes you haqppy to be out there. We enjoyed it as much, if not more, than they did.”
While the seven-time All-Star joined guard Leandro Barbosa, rookie Taylor Griffin and assistant coach Igor Kokoskov to help their group with jumpers, second-year guard Goran Dragic, rookie Earl Clark and assistant coach Dan Majerle offered tips on dribbling to their class.
“It’s always great to get out and help the kids,” Majerle said. “They really appreciate it, and we as a group appreciate getting the opportunity to come and show them the ropes like this.”
After the event, the Suns officially took over the court to practice what they preach, going through what has been commonplace this preseason — plenty of drills on positioning and rotations of their own — in preparation for Sunday’s exhibition vs. Philadelphia at Arena Monterrey. It marks the second time in three nights the two teams have matched up.
“We didn’t sleep too much last night,” Amar’e Stoudemire said. “We had the game vs. the 76ers, so we got in late. Today’s a long day, but Sunday will be fun. It will be a great show, and I’m sure everyone will enjoy it.”
Looking to make it 2-for-2 vs. Philadelphia this weekend, the Suns are definitely not taking the preseason schedule lightly.
“Como se dice (how do you say) ‘excitement?’” Hill asked.
Click here for Saturday’s photos from Mexico, including shots from the teams’ trip to the U.S. Consulate.