HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem was in comparison to the Pied Piper at a Walmart superstore Wednesday morning in Hollywood.
“It always was dependent on a lot of other people to contribute, to have a good Christmas too, so now I understand what it’s like to depend on people outside of your family. You know, ensure that they have a pretty decent Christmas,” said Haslem. “For me it’s just natural, second nature.”
For the 11th straight year, the Miami Heat’s team captain made sure that more than 100 kids would have Christmas gifts this holiday season.
Each child received a $200 gift card.
“That’s my first time ever seeing a basketball player, and he looks pretty tall. I was really excited for this because there’s like $200, and like, I can buy anything I want,” said Alan Herrera.
The Haslem children’s foundation selected kids from three Dade and Broward county schools who excelled academically.
“I got a car, I got a jeep, I got a ball, I got everything I want,” said Phendy Edward.
There were also children from Julias Kids, a support group for those who have lost a family member to gun violence.
“Where there is a need, where there’s a, you know, a spot to step in and take ownership and be able to do something positive in the community of Miami with the kids and with the parents and different things like that, that’s where I step in, and so I stay connected to the community, 10 toes down, and understand what’s going down around here,” said Haslem.
Haslem is hands-on in the community.
During the pandemic he provided food from his restaurant to frontline workers.
“I think it’s very important in my free time to, you know, spend time with the commissioners and the mayors, you know, people around the city that are a lot smarter than me and understand a lot more of what’s going on out here than me. You know, pick they’re brain and ears,” said Haslem.
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