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BY Annie

10 NBA teams supporting children with special needs

In the sports world we are less than one week away from the start of the NBA playoffs. The last playoff spots are being secured and the chase for the NBA title will begin.

As we have done for football and hockey we take a look  at the NBA teams who go the extra mile off the court to support children with special needs.

Check out these 10 NBA teams supporting children with special needs. Tell us what you think or if we missed any teams!

Boston CelticsBoston Celtics

Perkins School For the Blind
The Boston Celtics held its Perkins School for the Blind Night on Jan. 23 and presented a check to the school. The Perkins School for the Blind provides education and services for children and adults that are blind, deafblind or visually impaired.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Wheelchair Cavaliers
The Wheelchair Cavaliers are a wheelchair basketball team that works with the Cleveland Cavaliers to visit hospitals, schools and youth centers to promote wheelchair basketball. In addition, the Wheelchair Cavaliers performs during two Cavaliers home games.

Charlotte Bobcats

Annual Special Olympics Clinic
More than 150 Special Olympics athletes from North Carolina participate in the Charlotte Bobcats’ Annual Special Olympics Clinic. Players on the Bobcats lead drills and work with the athletes on basketball fundamentals.

Denver Nuggets

Annual Special Olympics Colorado Basketball Clinic
Each year, more than 100 Colorado Special Olympians join Denver Nuggets players and coaches for the annual Colorado Basketball clinic. Athletes ages 7-70 participate in this event. The Nuggets also hosts sports skills clinics and tournaments that attract athletes with disabilities from Colorado Sled Hockey, Colorado Rolling Nuggets, and National Sports Center for the Disabled.

Detroit Pistons

Detroit PistonsEton Academy
The Detroit Pistons and the Pistons-Palace Foundation renovated Eton Academy’s community resource room to make it the best location in the state for parents and teachers to learn more about learning challenges and special-needs. The Pistons Resource Room houses books on a variety of topics, such as dyslexia, ADHD, cognitive development, autism, down syndrome, hearing impairment, vision impairment and other challenges that affect the way a student learns.

Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks Special Olympics Clinic
The Bucks Special Olympics Clinic, hosted by Bucks players, coaches, and mascot Bango, is a basketball clinic for 200 Special Olympics athletes and their coaches. It’s part of the Bucks’ long-standing support for Special Olympics, and was held on Feb. 6 this year.

Orlando Magic

Nathaniel’s Hope Make ‘m Smile event
Orlando Magic forward Bo Outlaw participated at the fourth annual Nathaniel’s Hope Make ‘m Smile Event last year, an event that “is dedicated to celebrating, reaching out and loving kids with special needs … of Central Florida.”

Phoenix Suns

Wheelchair Basketball
The Phoenix Banner Wheelchair Suns work with the Phoenix Suns and give wheelchair basketball clinics and teach other basketball skills to individuals with physical disabilities.

Utah Jazz

Common Ground
The Utah Jazz  together with Friends of the Utah Jazz
have made a significant donation to Common Ground. Common Ground helps over 2,400 youth and adults with disabilities annually by providing recreational opportunities such as hiking/climbing, snowshoeing, skiing, canoeing and fishing.

Washington Wizards

Spread the Word to End the Word Awareness
Washington Wizards players Andray Blatche, Jordan Crawford, Rachard Lewis and Nick Young participated in the Special Olympics’ fourth annual “Spread the Word to End the Word” awareness day. In addition, fans at the Wizards vs. Lakers game on March 7 were encouraged to sign a banner pledging their commitment to “Spread the Word to End the Word.” The banner was also signed by the entire Wizards team.

NBA Programs

The National Basketball Association as a whole has programs and partnerships that help kids with special needs.

World Autism Awareness Day

Autism AwarenessIn 2011, they partnered with Autism Speaks to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. To raise autism awareness, several team arenas and surrounding locations were lit up blue, sold puzzle piece cookies, and broadcast Autism Speaks public service announcements. The teams that participated were the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, LA Clippers, and Toronto Raptors.

NBA CaresSpecial Olympics

This year, the NBA and Special Olympics held the first-ever NBA Cares Special Olympics Unity Sports Basketball Game on Feb. 26. The game was part of the 2012 NBA All-Star weekend in Orlando and featured 12 Special Olympics athletes along with past and present NBA players, current NBA players, and celebrities.

All-Star Wheelchair Classic

National Wheelchair BasketballEver year during the NBA All Star festivities a NBA vs NWBA (National Wheelchair Basketball Association) Basketball Game takes place. NWBA All-Stars also lead a basketball clinic for local youth athletes with lower limb impairments and their families immediately following the Wheelchair Classic.



Written on April 23, 2012 by:

Annie is currently a junior journalism major at Michigan State University. She is an associate editor for ing Magazine, a student-run magazine on campus, and manages ing's Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts. Annie has spent her last three summers at camp working with children who have special needs. When she is not on Twitter or blogging, she likes to dance, swim, and read as many books as humanly possible.

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