NBA superstars, in town for All-Star weekend, made a stop in Houston's Fifth Ward this afternoon. They left one gigantic gift behind. Who knew Kobe, Tony, Tim, Dwight, Dikembe and Yao were all on the same team? Well, in this case they are.
"When you're in a position and you have a platform and you have a voice you don't want that to go to waste. You have to use it to inspire others, to help others," says Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
The NBA superstars are in Houston's Fifth Ward building a much needed playground. "To play, enjoy themselves, have fun, jump up and down. I'm so happy to be part of this," says former Houston Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo.
"Corny enough, they (kids) are our future. It is what it is. When they have something like this, somewhere to play they're not out doing something else," says San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan.
"I'm supervising. I'm a point guard so I'm supervising. I've got the gloves though. I've got the gloves," laughs Duncan's teammate Tony Parker.
The guys put in hard work and even worked up a sweat, especially retired NBA player Sean Elliott, who we watched work for hours building the playground.
"My kids are working really hard," says U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who's wife and children also helped build the park. Like Duncan, Kobe Bryant brought along his own personal and beautiful little cheerleader, his daughter Natalia. "I definitely won't give her a hammer. Her mom would kill me," laughed Bryant.
The new playground is on Curtis at Benson Street. Before they put up the park there wasn't much in the area for the children. "Building playgrounds is something that our kids need to keep them off the street so they can have something to do that's positive," says Los Angeles Lakers star Dwight Howard.
"These guys have a heart and they're of service. There's so much need out here. this is going to be a big asset for Fifth Ward," smiled Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee who also rolled up her sleeves to help.
"This neighborhood could really use the boost. The kids will really be the beneficiaries. They'll get a chance to have a safe place to play and learn," says former Houston Rocket Clyde Drexler.
"I was one of those young boys who it was hard for me to sit still all day. If I had a chance to burn off some steam then I could go concentrate," adds Arne Duncan.
So where was your favorite place to play on the playground? "The slide," admits former Houston Rocket Yao Ming.
"I would say the swing. You get on the swing and you could stay there all day and you could think. You're just going back and forth. It's just that time to yourself going back and forth. The wind blowing," reveals Dwight Howard. If you can't find Dwight this weekend, well, sounds like we know where to find him. The nearest swing maybe?
This was all made possible thanks to the non-profit group Kaboom (www.kaboom.org) which donated the playground equipment.
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