Since signing with the Los Angeles Clippers in July, NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard has spent his summer acclimating to his new surroundings after crushing the hopes and dreams of Lakers fans throughout the city. But in his efforts to endear himself to his new home—and perhaps give us a bit more insight into the man behind the broken laugh—the two-time NBA champion partnered with the Clippers and their nonprofit community partner Baby2Baby to donate one million backpacks to low-income families throughout Southern California.
The NBA reports that every single student in the Moreno Valley Unified, Inglewood Unified, and Los Angeles Unified School Districts will receive a new backpack to kick start their new school year and that this generous donation is the largest in the history of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude to the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard for this record-breaking donation to every student in Los Angeles Unified School District and beyond,” Baby2Baby co-presidents Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein said. “For many of these children who are homeless or in foster care, backpacks not only hold their school books and homework but also all of their personal belongings. [...] The Clippers’ donation will make these children feel the pride they deserve and give them the confidence they need to start the school year off on the right foot.”
“My goal this year is to make a meaningful contribution both on and off the court,” Leonard said. “This felt like the right way to get started. It was important to me to make this announcement in my hometown of Moreno Valley at my former elementary school, but the benefits this program will have across all of Los Angeles makes today even more special.”
According to the NBA, 80 percent of K-12 Los Angeles Unified School District students last year either came from a low-income family, were homeless or are in foster care. The intent behind this donation is to alleviate the financial burden so many of these families bear so that they can instead focus on necessities such as food, rent or utilities.
“There are a lot of families throughout the L.A. region working hard every day to earn everything in their lives. This program is our effort to extend a hand to make heading back to school a little easier,” said Gillian Zucker, President of Business Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers.
I can’t think of a better way for Kawhi to begin the next chapter of his career, though he’s more than welcome to follow this up by helping the Clippers win their first NBA championship this upcoming season.