Timberwolves' Tolliver Leads Camp for Joplin Kids
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver grew up about 45 minutes from Joplin, Missouri, so the tornado that ripped through the town May 23 hit very close to home.
Seeing the devastation on television, Tolliver decided to do something to lift the spirits of a reeling community. So he plans to hold a basketball clinic next week for children affected by the tornado, hoping to bring a few smiles to their faces during a trying time.
"Tons of lives were lost and tons of stuff was lost," Tolliver said Friday. "People's homes and cars and businesses and all kinds of stuff is just gone. It is what it is, and all I can do is try to help as much possible."
Tolliver, who grew up in Springfield, will head to Joplin on Monday and assist in cleanup efforts. His hoops clinic will be Wednesday at the Sports Park of Southwest Missouri and is free for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The three-hour session is aimed at getting their minds off their troubles, if only for a little while.
"This was an opportunity to give the kids a chance to get away from all the destruction and just go have some fun for a few hours and use basketball as a way to give back," Tolliver said.
More than 130 people were killed in the storm, and more than 8,000 homes or apartments were damaged or destroyed.
Tolliver asked that anyone interested in helping send money to the Abundant Life Christian Center in Joplin. Church leaders have told Tolliver that they have received plenty of donations of food, water and clothing and that now their biggest need is financial to help the people in the community start putting their lives back together.
"They need money to help people to build homes and get their things back," he said.
One thing the kids won't be learning is the triangle offense, a version of which coach Kurt Rambis has used with the Timberwolves. It's a complex system that has been difficult for the young Wolves to grasp over the last two years.
"That's a little complicated," Tolliver said with a chuckle. "Some of our guys didn't get it in a whole year, so I don't think these kids will pick it up in three hours.
Where to give: Abundant Life Christian Center, 6863 E. Newman Rd, Joplin, Mo., 64801.