On Wednesday, the Lynx celebrated their 2017 Championship in a unique way—by giving back.
At a community event in Washington, D.C., Minnesota teamed up with Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit that provides new socks and shoes to children in underserved communities. The Lynx visited Payne Elementary, a D.C. public elementary school where all the students are low-income, and 30 percent are homeless. The team washed the students’ feet and fitted them with brand new sneakers donated by Nike, Jordan Brand and DTLR Villa.
“Just to be able to interact with them, just to really see ourselves in these kids knowing that just a few years ago we were these kids, dreaming big, trying to figure out how to make it to the next grade. Just to encourage them today has been fun,” said Maya Moore.
For Reeve, the event was just another example of what a special group of people this Lynx team is. They could have had an extra day off, but instead, the players wanted to do a day of service in D.C.
“It’s just the epitome of what’s in their hearts, these players, they understand how much bigger this is than themselves,” said Reeve. “For me, it was an incredibly proud day when they popped over and they said ‘Hey coach, we want to do this, can you help us?’”
“It never gets old,” said Samaritan’s Feet Founder, President and CEO Manny Ohonme. “To be able to have not only a pair of shoes, but Jordan Brand shoes? They’ll be telling their children’s children that Maya, Rebekkah, Coach Cheryl washed my feet and told me to dream big. Put on shoes and socks and walk into their destiny. That reaction, the joy on their faces, I hope it never gets old.”
Ohonme stressed the importance of emphasizing to students that while the Lynx players may seem like they’re on top of the world now, they didn’t start there. If the Lynx players can share their success stories and help communities in need, it gives kids hope that they too can better themselves.
“We always tell you, when the elevator gets to the top, always send it back down,” said Ohonme. “Remind us ‘I was one of you, I grew up in these neighborhoods, I was one of those ones that was on free and reduced lunch, I was one of those ones who my parents would take me to the cheap shoes. I didn’t have Jordan! But today you get a chance to go to school, you get a chance to have food, you get a chance to have shoes, you get a chance to be educated. You are our future.’”
After the Samaritan’s Feet event, the Lynx were joined by Minnesota’s U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and several members of the U.S. House of Representatives, where they were recognized both for their 2017 Championship and for their charitable work.
“Winning four championships has been an amazing accomplishment but the leadership that you all demonstrate goes beyond the basketball court,” said Klobuchar. “When this team is on the court we can all learn something about your focus, your hard work, your commitment to playing as a team.”
The Lynx continue to demonstrate their winning culture not just on the court, but also in the community. We hope the kids at Payne Elementary will always remember their day with the Lynx and remember them as a true example of what it means to be a champion.