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NBA refs visit school to inspire students

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SAN ANTONIO – The morning before NBA referees worked the Spurs game at the AT&T Center Monday, they took time out to inspire students at Linton Elementary.

Joe Crawford, Bennie Adams and Tre Maddox worked with a group of fifth-grade students as part of the Time Out For Reading program, which is a partnership between Linton, Scholastic, Inc., and the National Basketball Referee Association.

"I was really excited," said student Isabel Suarez. "I was actually about to faint that I actually saw them in person."

"I never thought I would ever see them because, like, they're so famous," said student Dylan Guzman.

Students took turns reading a book called "Heat," written by another familiar sports figure: ESPN reporter Mike Lupica.

The visit not only gave students a chance to work on reading skills, but it gave them a chance to connect with new role models.

"A lot of them come from economically disadvantaged families and for them to see someone who grew up kind of like they did, and now they're NBA referees, makes a big difference for them," said Susanne Bridges, a teacher.

Different NBA refs will work with the group once a month for the next four months.

The hope is that the students will be inspired not only to read more, but to aim high and score big in life.

"If they actually do work and read, they got a shot at something," said Crawford.