If you’ve followed the Suns outside of nightly box scores for any given amount of time, you should already be well-versed in the franchise’s commitment to the community, regardless of the time of year.
Still, when those good tidings coincide with the holiday season, it seemingly does make them that much more special.
Case in point, the franchise is spreading its own dose of holiday cheer this week with a pair of community appearances in the Valley.
First up, as part of the sixth-annual Suns Holiday Toy Drive in partnership with Fry’s Food Stores, the contingent of Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Robin Lopez, Goran Dragic, Earl Clark, Garret Siler and Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry are off to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center to deliver holiday gifts to pediatric patients.
“A lot of the guys here have kids, cousins or nieces and nephews,” Siler said, “so you have to relate to all these kids as your own, and be positive.
“Especially this time of year, it’s the season of giving and we’re no exception to the rule. With as much love and support the team gets from the fans, it would be stupid for us NOT to give back. That would be wrong. I’m just glad our organization is always there to give back every chance we can.”
Teammate Goran Dragic used to make similar philanthropic trips to hospitals with his European team years ago.
“Just a visit means a lot,” he said. “It’s important to make these visits to support the kids, especially for Christmas. These kids aren’t at home – they are in the hospital. It’s great for us to be able to stop and say hello, talk with them and spread a message of hope.”
Josh Childress is also doing his part, hosting 25 children from the Boys & Girls Club of the East Valley, Compadre Branch, with his “Flicks N’ Kicks” at Tempe Marketplace. The Suns forward will tip off the event by joining the children for a private viewing of the Disney film “Tangled” at Harkins Theatre. Following the movie, Childress will take the children to The Finish Line where he will purchase a pair of shoes for each of them as a holiday gift. Then he’ll treat the children to dinner at Dave & Buster’s and present each child with a “Power Play” card good for 30 minutes of free game play.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Childress said. “It should be a lot of fun. Obviously the kids are going to have a good time, and I’m going to have a good time. More than anything, I just want to bring awareness to the kids for the holidays, and hopefully others – whether it be another athlete or a regular Joe – will step up in a time of need.
“I’m blessed to play in the NBA for a living, and there a lot of people that aren’t as fortunate. To be able to give back to a kid and make their holiday that much more special is something I really enjoy.”
*Monetary donations for St. Joseph’s Children’s Rehabilitative Services are now being accepted at Fry’s Food Stores throughout the Valley.