"Hoops for Troops" with the New Orleans Pelicans
Hoops for Troops is a dynamic initiative that intertwines passion for basketball with a profound dedication to supporting and honoring military service members. This program, led by the NBA and other military organizations, encapsulates a series of basketball events, often organized by teams, leagues, or communities, aimed at raising awareness and funds for various initiatives benefiting veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families.
Hoops for Troops serves as a powerful platform that unites the love for basketball with a noble cause, fostering a sense of gratitude and solidarity towards those who have served or continue to serve their country. Hoops for Troops events not only showcase exciting athletic competitions but also serve as a rallying point for social support and recognition for the sacrifices made by the armed forces.
As part of the NBA family, the Pelicans honor active and retired service members in collaboration with the USO, Taps, Department of Defense, and other military and veteran organizations. That said, the Pels hosted their annual "Hoops for Troops" game this Sunday at the Smoothie King Center on November 12 in commemoration of Veterans Day.
To commence the matchup against the Dallas Mavericks, a decorated Naval officer performed a trumpet rendition of the National Anthem. Throughout the game, the Pelicans players showcased heartfelt messages to all veterans in the stadium across the Smoothie King jumbotron.
"Without you, we wouldn't be able to play this game that we love so much," said #13 Kira Lewis Jr. #3 CJ McCollum, although inactive (right lung), still projected a special message, offering "appreciation for everything that you sacrifice for your family and for all of us."
Between the 1st and 2nd quarters, the team asked all active and retired military members to stand up. As they did, the jumbotron showcased the beautiful faces of the brave men and women standing in the stadium. The audience met this with resounding applause and gratitude.
The halftime show was further dedicated to our veterans as the 151st Army Band took the court. This eight piece jazz band local to the Gulf South region performed a lively medley for five minutes of halftime in full uniform.
In the third quarter, Navy veteran Rodrick was challenged with the half court shot challenge with the chance to win a signed basketball from Jonas Valančiūnas, which he was awarded.
"I can't express my thanks enough and tonight is all about showing that thanks," said #40 Cody Zeller.
Overall, the Pelicans may not have brought their A-game to the court, the squad created a memorable experience for fans and veterans alike. After all, we will rematch the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, November 14. We'll be on the sidelines cheering them on once again!