Red Shield unveils NBA Cares Learn and Play Center

The Los Angeles Lakers and NBA dedicate a new learning center for LA. kids.

Los Angeles Laker Derek Fisher reads to chldren in the new NBA Cares Learn and Play Center. [Photo by Manuel Acevedo]

On June 4, 2010, NBA Commissioner David Stern joined current and former Los Angeles Lakers players and team administrators in dedicating the NBA Cares Learn and Play Center at The Salvation Army Los Angeles Red Shield Youth and Community Center.

“It’s easy enough to say—and we believe it—that you can do anything you want to do,” Stern said, “but it’s up to us to give these kids the tools that they need to win. It’s one thing to be in the game, but we want them to win.”

The Red Shield Center is located one-half mile from Staples Center, home of the Lakers. The Red Shield developed a strong rapport with the civic-minded basketball team when they played in the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and when the team relocated 10 years ago, the connection gained momentum.

The relationship advanced again in May 2010 when the Lakers won a playoff position in the Western Conference—against the Phoenix Suns—and were on the road to the NBA finals.

NBA officials had requested the names of seven charities from each team’s city. Of these, one from each city was selected to receive a donation of $5,000. The Red Shield won the L.A. bid. NBA officials then announced that an additional $35,000 grant would be given to the hometown charity of the winning playoff team.

When the Lakers beat the Suns, the NBA made good on its promise, cutting a check to the Red Shield in the amount of $35,000 to remodel its learning center.

The refurbished center—decorated in Lakers’ colors of purple and gold for the dedication celebration—now contains 10 desktop and two touch screen computers.

“We could never do this alone—no one could ever do this alone,” Irene Lewis, executive director, Red Shield Youth and Community Center, said. “It takes the help of the community, local police and organizations like the NBA and Lakers. The NBA has been a great friend of ours and we look forward to continuing to work with them.”

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