Wizards players cherish first in-person charity event since pandemic began

There were a lot of different things about the 2020-21 NBA season, including the absence of fans in games for much of the year until local jurisdictions across the country began to relax their laws. , allowing teams to fill their arenas in most cases at reduced capacity. . But it wasn’t just the games that fans were missing.

Teams also had to cut back on community events, which forced them to get creative in their charitable efforts. Last weekend was the first time multiple Wizards players could greet fans in person at an event, and they didn’t take the opportunity for granted.

The Wizards hosted a back-to-school giveaway in Ward 8, a few blocks from their training facility in southeast DC, as hundreds of locals showed up to get school supplies and see Daniel Gafford, Cassius Winston and recent first-round pick Corey Kispert.

“It’s a nice change of scenery for me. It’s been a minute since I’ve been in an atmosphere like this,” Gafford told NBC Sports Washington.

“Being able to do that and giving back to the community is a great thing for me because I’m a community guy. I love people. I just love seeing everyone in a setting like this. Even though we have the masks on, it’s been a minute since we’ve seen everyone in a large group like this. “

“It’s just good to see people,” Winston said.

Gafford and Winston each played their first season in Washington last year. Winston was a rookie, while Gafford came in a Bulls trade in March.

It was the first time that either had portrayed wizards in this way. They hope there will be more opportunities in the future.

Gafford has spoken openly in the past of his frustration with pandemic life. He considers himself an introvert and loves to play video games, but staying indoors all the time gets old for everyone. He strongly encourages the United States to keep moving forward so that society can return to normal.

“I got the vaccine. I don’t really force people to do it because you do what you want with your life,” he said, adding that he chose Pfizer.

Going out to see the fans has got Kispert thinking about what charitable causes he wants to focus on during his NBA career. He hasn’t settled on them yet, as he is just realizing the potential of his influence as a professional athlete.

“It’s a huge opportunity. It’s bigger than any platform I’ve ever had,” he said.

The Wizards’ back-to-school giveaway was the first of its kind they’ve been able to throw since the pandemic became widespread in March 2020. Maybe soon they can become a regular event, just like so many other things. that have changed due to the coronavirus.

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