SAN ANTONIO – Following a very eventful week in Uvalde, the San Antonio Spurs paid a special visit Saturday to play some hoops and bring joy to the community that is in the midst of healing from the Robb Elementary tragedy.
On Friday, Uvalde CISD announced it would suspend its entire district police department and that Superintendent Hal Harrell would discuss his retirement options with board members during a meeting on Monday, Oct. 10.
Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, basketball players, and the Coyote mascot joined Uvalde CISD elementary school students and their families at the gym at Uvalde High School to “show the residents that their pain has not been forgotten,” the team said.
“We’re just trying to, you know bring joy to all of the families here today. All of the kids that were you know friends with all of those kids, maybe had those teachers as well,” Tre Jones, Spurs point guard, said.
The Spurs’ practice was also in preparation for the 2022-2023 basketball season.
Students were welcome on the court, where they learned some basketball moves firsthand from the Spurs players.
“It goes to show it’s bigger than basketball. The fact that we’re able to come out here and have an impact like this on this community,” Devin Vassell, a small forward for the team, said.
“We know it’s been tough but you know if we can just come out here and bring a little bit of joy then today is a successful day for us,” Keldon Johnson, power forward, said.
After the practice, the students and their families were invited to a community fair in the courtyard outside to enjoy games, food, prizes and more.
“We are honored and grateful that Uvalde has welcomed us into their city today,” said Dr. Kara Allen, chief impact officer for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, in a news release. “They’re our neighbors, and we will continue to move ahead as caring and supportive neighbors. We believe that sport is healing, and while we know that a day of joy doesn’t erase pain, anger or loss, we as an organization want to walk alongside everyone as they heal and thrive together.”
Gregg Popovich showed his heart with the kids and Hall of Famer Manu Ginóbili carried victim Eliahna Torres with him as he greeted fans.
Each of the 21 victims were remembered.
“What a responsibility it is to do the work to ensure that everybody gets to show up safely and wear their own favorite colors,” Allen said.
The festivities will continue on Oct. 9 when the Spurs will host 1,000 Uvalde residents as special guests at the AT&T Center for their match against the New Orleans Pelicans at 6 p.m.
KSAT’s Leigh Waldman was at the Spurs’ event today. You can view some of the day’s happenings below:
Players are practicing now but they started out by throwing T-shirts out to kids in the crowd. pic.twitter.com/AptvAcOgvl— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) October 8, 2022
Words of encouragement from players here today pic.twitter.com/EogNMxVAmU— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) October 8, 2022
The man himself, hall of famer Manu Ginóbili pic.twitter.com/jJ7OsQ8VFK— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) October 8, 2022