Professional athletes have received a bad rap over the past decade due to the advent of 24/7 news stations and continual ESPN coverage. Many sports fans perhaps know more about their favorite athletes than their family due to the inane amount of coverage these athletes receive. Unfortunately for athletes, the media attention they do get is usually of the negative variety. Zach Randolph, forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, has been no stranger to negative media attention over the years. Randolph has been implicated with drugs and drug dealers, holds a checkered past during his youth, and has been known for his obscene antics on the court during his stint with the Portland TrailBlazers.
However, Randolph has since matured and developed into an NBA player worthy of having many admirers. This month, Randolph received the November Kia Community Assist Award for his charity work with underprivileged children during the month of November:
“As a part of the NBA’s Season of Giving, Randolph distributed 900 Thanksgiving food baskets at Booker T. Washington High School and Hamilton High School in Memphis. At both events, select families received tickets from Randolph to attend an upcoming Grizzlies game. Randolph also donated 500 turkeys and 500 spiral hams to be given away to 1,000 people at the Clarence Faulkner Community Center in Marion, Ind. In addition to Thanksgiving meals, he contributed 300 winter coats to students at Memphis’ A.B. Hill Elementary.”
But it’s not these actions which have put Randolph in today’s spotlight. This time, it was Randolph’s actions on the court that brought a smile to a child’s face. During last night’s losing effort against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Randolph found himself riding the pine and chatting with a nearby fan. The fan, however, wanted more than a simple chat with the Grizzlies big man; he wanted Z-Bo’s shirt. Feeling the giving mood of Christmas, Randolph obliged and handed the kid the shirt right off his back.
While many professional athletes use their positions of influence and authority to look out for numero uno, there are those who remember their upbringings and give back to those who need. Zach Randolph may have not been one of the giving kind at the beginning of his career, but recent actions prove that the All-Star NBA forward is becoming less of a Grinch and more of a Who – a trend which hopefully gains traction with professional athletes and millionaires worldwide.
[Image via YouTube]