Taking time out of the NBA season to inspire young athletes, the San Antonio Spurs organization’s annual holiday basketball clinic uses basketball as a vehicle to teach the values of sportsmanship and leading a healthy lifestyle. During single-day sessions, former and current Spurs players and coaches swing by to alley-oop advice into the ears of boys and girls aged 7–18, leading practice drills and competitions in which coaches emphasize core principles and training techniques, such as how young players should react when college recruiters start replacing the prizes in cereal boxes with letters of intent. Afterward, kids head home with signed souvenirs and a better overall understanding of the game, both on the court and off.
For more than 130 years, the YMCA has worked to facilitate growth for individuals as well as communities by providing social-enrichment programs that promote honesty, respect, and responsibility. YMCA of Greater San Antonio, which features locations throughout the metropolitan area, helps people improve their lives with healthy living programs that offer inclusive training classes as well as lifelong learning classes. Youth development initiatives and childcare services allow children as well as teens to develop positive behaviors while exploring their interests in a safe, supportive environment. The centers also encourage social responsibility by providing opportunities to support local communities through volunteerism and charitable giving.
Antonio Daniels studied elementary education at Bowling Green State University. But rather than making a career of reading Newbery Award–winning books or conducting science experiments over bunsen burners, he entered the 1997 NBA Draft and was chosen as the fourth overall pick by the Vancouver Grizzlies. However, once he recognized the hollowness of a baller's lifestyle––whose only rewards were a 1999 NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs and the perk of wearing shorts to work––Antonio atoned by establishing his annual youth summer basketball camp.
For all five days of the camp, Antonio prowls the sidelines, giving kids pointers and boosting their confidence in the game he has now played professionally for 13 years. Coaches from the middle-school through college ranks join him in running the aspiring dunk machines through drills, skill training, and competitive games. At the end of the camp, children will not only have sharpened their hooping tool set, but they will also leave with two of the best souvenirs Antonio can offer other than plaster casts of his hands and feet: a T-shirt and an autographed photo.