Team Lebron, Team Giannis raises $1M benefiting Chicago kids, charities during NBA All-Star Game

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Children across the Chicago area benefited as players visiting for the NBA All-Star Game weekend represented charities that meant something to them.

Anthony Davis made the winning basket for Team Lebron during Sunday's NBA All-Star game. The game-winning shot helped make the charity Chicago Scholars $400,000 richer.

"The connection that our kids and our city has to the sport, I mean, it is deeper here," said Jeffrey Beckham, VP partnerships for Chicago Scholars.

Chicago Scholars helps low-income students get to and through college in an effort to help make generational change possible.

"To be able to provide more internship opportunities, more structured leadership programs for our scholars... I mean, I am getting choked up slightly and emotional thinking about the kids that we are serving, the depth that we will be able to go with them now," Beckham said.

Team Giannis also claimed victory in the second quarter of the game raising $100,000 for the 19,000 kids of After School Matters -- the charity former Chicago first lady Maggie Daley created to provide fellowship and life skills in those key after school hours.

"For those 19,000, for every teen we were able to serve there was an application we couldn't fill," said Ruth Lednicer, the director of communication and marketing for After School Matters.

In all, the NBA said a million dollars of charitable good works punctuated this All-Star weekend, including the refurbishing of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago's West Side center which was possible thanks to Nike.

Giving to these charities provided a sense that these big men, such as Giannis, were once these kids hoping someone important with power would see them.

"They spent time with them. He came [and] took pics with all of them. That is a recognition that reinforces what we tell them every day, which is that they matter," Lednicer said.

Following a series of thank you tweets from After School Matters to Giannis, the reigning NBA MVP donated another $100,000 to the charity, ensuring more faces that care can greet those Chicago kids after school.