Eager Treadwell Day campers lined up outside the Treadwell Park basketball courts on August 6 as they anxiously awaited the start of a basketball and life skills clinic hosted by members of the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA).
The NBRPA has a two-pronged mission to assist former NBA, ABA, Harlem Globetrotters and WNBA players in their transition from the playing court into life after the game, while also positively impacting communities and youth through basketball.
Dwight Davis, formerly of both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors as well as the No. 3 overall pick in the 1972 NBA draft, led the former NBA stars and was thrilled to be bringing smiles to the faces to the children of Newtown.
“We absolutely love doing this kind of work,” Davis said.
Davis shared that the clinic was about more than just basketball. It was also about sportsmanship, teamwork, and keeping a positive attitude at all times.
“We think that having a life skills portion is crucial, even more important than learning about basketball,” Davis said. “The kids really benefit from it.”
Among those joining Davis were former New Jersey Nets players Bob Elliott and Albert King, the latter of whom was the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year during his days at the University of Maryland. One-time New York Knicks star Tom Hoover and others were on hand.
Nate “Tiny” Archibald, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as a six-time NBA All-Star, member of the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, and NBA Champion, was also in attendance. He affectionately referred to every age group that came through his station, where he taught dribbling skills, as “Tiny’s Tots.”
The children were separated by their Treadwell Day camp age groups, and circulated to different skill stations, all run by various NBRPA members.
Newtown Parks & Recreation Director Amy Mangold, shared that the clinic was put on for the Treadwell and Dickinson Day camps only, in order to show them a sport they might not usually be exposed to.
“Learning the different components of basketball from some of its former stars is certainly an opportunity of a lifetime for some of these children,” Mangold said.
“Every one of these guys came out on their own today, just to be with you,” said NBRPA President and CEO Arnie Fielkow, as he addressed the campers before the clinic began.
Additionally, Fielkow presented RoseAnn Reggiano, Newtown’s assistant director of Parks & Recreation, along with Mangold, with a check for $2,000 on behalf of the NBRPA.
Having hosted a similar event for children in Moore, Okla. that were impacted by tornadoes earlier this summer, and often putting on comparable programs for communities across the country, the NBRPA felt a real kinship with the children of Newtown.
“Kids have a fear of attending a first day of school regularly, and Newtown’s kids have been through horrific times,” Davis said. “We’re here to help them take their minds off of that and make them smile.”