Rockets News

6 Acts of generosity the Houston Rockets have shown for Thanksgiving

By Anthony Duckett
Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE)
Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE)
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Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE)
Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE)

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, we look at the many ways the Houston Rockets have been giving back to the community.

The Houston Rockets are off to a decent start this season. Through 18 games, the team has gone 12-6, which is much better than the record the team posted last year in their first 18 games.

Houston goes into the Thanksgiving holiday fresh off a revenge victory over the Miami Heat, who wiped them off the floor during the first matchup earlier in the season. The Rockets were defeated 129-100 in their first meeting with Miami and the game was actually not even that close. While the team undoubtedly used their days of rest to prepare for vengeance against the Heat, they also used that time to continue to do great things in the community as Thanksgiving approaches.

Many of the Rockets’ players used their time off to give back to the community and express their gratitude and humility. One thing we can certainly always appreciate about professional athletes is seeing them give back to the community, especially in the Rockets’ case, as several of the players are actually from the greater Houston area.

But even if they aren’t, it’s still something that should never be taken for granted and always be appreciated. Here are six acts of generosity by the Rockets organization, which all were aimed towards giving back to the community for the Thanksgiving holiday.

These are in no specific order, as these are all equally impactful gestures.

Next: Russ

Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE)
Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE)

Russell Westbrook’s WhyNot Foundation

Russell Westbrook and his WhyNot Foundation actually hosted his 8th Annual Thanksgiving dinner while the Rockets were in his hometown of Los Angeles in advance of the Rockets game against the Los Angeles Clippers. As if that weren’t enough, Westbrook’s foundation also served a Thanksgiving dinner for the Boys and Girls Club in the greater Houston area, which further illustrates the character of Westbrook.

The fact that Westbrook was willing to spend multiple days of his time off to serve Thanksgiving meals to the community truly shows the passion he has toward helping others. Much has been made about the hard-charging passion he plays with on the court, but not enough attention is paid to the fact that he applies that same passion and relentless effort toward making a difference in the community.

Not only that, but Westbrook has the brightest smile on his face during these events, which is more than just flashing a smile for the camera. Westbrook spoke about the joy and satisfaction he receives from helping others, courtesy of Mark Berman of Fox 26 News.

Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) on giving back to the community, touching lives: “I’d do it every day if I could.” pic.twitter.com/LQgrLnTs9k

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 27, 2019

Westbrook actually joined the line which was serving the community, which further expresses his passion and sincerity of giving back to the community.

Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) and his Why Not Foundation in action as Russell hosts his inaugural Houston event and helps serve dinner at the Jim & Barbara Morefield Boys & Girls Club (Sunnyside). Russell played basketball at a Boys & Girls Club while growing up in LA. pic.twitter.com/MICY76ygl2

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 26, 2019

Westbrook also spoke about the impact the Boys and Girls Club has had on him, as he was a part of the Boys and Girls Club during his childhood back in Los Angeles.

Russell Westbrook (@RussWest44) helped serve dinner at the Jim & Barbara Morefield Boys & Girls Club. 1st Houston event for Russell and his Why Not Foundation. Russell played basketball at a Boys & Girls Club while growing up in LA: “It was always a place I learned so much from” pic.twitter.com/t9l9iODrLw

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 26, 2019

With this being the first Houston event for Westbrook’s Foundation, it’s clear he’s committed to making a difference in the community, which should serve as no surprise considering his humility and his level of gratitude.

Next: MDA

Houston Rockets Mike D’Antoni (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Mike D’Antoni (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Mike and Laurel D’Antoni

Houston Rockets’ coach Mike D’Antoni and his wife Laurel have hosted their annual Thanksgiving dinner dating back to the 2017-18 season, which was MDA’s second year as the Rockets Head Coach.

This season, D’Antoni and his wife decided to hold their dinner at the Corder Place Apartments, which are roughly five miles away from the Houston Rockets’ home at the Toyota Center. One of the unique things about these specific apartments is that they provide housing and shelter for the homeless.

According to their website, they’ve provided 110 units of occupancy for the homeless dating back to 2007. D’Antoni’s dinner was coordinated in unison with Homemade Hope, which is a Houston-based non-profit organization that serves homeless and at-risk children through cooking classes, holiday celebrations and field trips, as outlined on their website.

Mike D’Antoni & wife Laurel hosting their 3rd annual Thanksgiving dinner for families who reside at Corder Place Apartments which provides housing for homeless families. D’Antoni’s organized the dinner in conjunction w/ Homemade Hope which helps with children at homeless shelters pic.twitter.com/K526q0cgVf

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 27, 2019

D’Antoni expressed how grateful he is to have the job he holds and also emphasized the importance of giving back considering the position he has as the Houston Rockets’ head coach.

Mike & Laurel D’Antoni hosted their annual Thanksgiving dinner at Corder Place Apartments which provides housing for homeless families. It gets Mike away from the grind of the season:”It minimizes our problems..b/c we don’t have problems.We’re lucky to have the jobs that we have” pic.twitter.com/M2GroyVjRq

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 27, 2019

Kudos to the D’Antoni’s for their consistent efforts towards making Thanksgiving an enjoyable day, but also for striving to improve the community!

Next: GreenHouse

Houston Rockets Danuel House Gerald Green (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Danuel House Gerald Green (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

GreenHouse Foundation

Fellow Houstonians Gerald Green and Danuel House formed the GreenHouse Effect community initiative, which was designed to give back to the Houston community which bred each of them.

House starred at nearby Hightower High School, located in Missouri City, which is a suburb of Houston. House later would also attend the University of Houston from 2014-16 before transferring to Texas A&M University.

Green initially attended Dobie High School, which is located roughly 21 miles away from the Toyota Center, but would later transfer to Gulf Shores Academy. From there, Green would skip college and head straight into the NBA.

Anytime an athlete starts a foundation designed to give back to the community, it’s always appreciated, but even more so in this case, as Green and House have a special place in their heart for the city of Houston. This initiative is geared towards providing groceries and turkeys to families of the Houston Area Urban League, or the HAUL.

According to their website, the HAUL is “the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement geared towards empowering African-Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream.” Their mission is to provide African-Americans and other minorities with economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights.

https://twitter.com/HoustonRockets/status/1199110141645348864?s=20

Gerald Green is still rehabbing from his broken foot, which may or may not have him back in time for the playoffs. Despite being unable to walk without assistance, Green took it upon himself to help out for the holidays, which shows the devotion, commitment and dedication he and House have towards helping to make Thanksgiving a memorable holiday for others.

Next: McLemore

Houston Rockets Ben McLemore (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Ben McLemore (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images)

Ben McLemore

Houston Rockets newcomer Ben McLemore has only been in Houston for four months, as he was officially signed on July 23rd in advance of the 2019-20 season. Despite that, it’s taken no time for McLemore to express his appreciation and gratitude toward the city of Houston.

McLemore recently hosted a catered meal at the Breakfast Klub for the children who reside at Houston Serenity Place. The Breakfast Klub has been a staple of the Houston culture, as they’ve been around since 2001 and are located less than two miles of the Houston Rockets’ home.

It’s commendable that McLemore has taken it upon himself to ingratiate himself with the Houston community he’s essentially had no ties to up until now. Houston Serenity Place is a non-profit agency that provides care and treatment to youths who suffer from mental and emotional health issues.

They were founded in 2005 and serve both males and females ranging from ages seven to 18. A large number of their referrals come from Child Protective Services, as their emphasis has been on ensuring children and families are given the assistance they need.

https://twitter.com/HoustonRockets/status/1199462513437499393?s=20

To ensure the families are equipped with the necessary ingredients for success, Houston Serenity Place provides services such as counseling, residential treatment, at-risk programs, foster care, adoption, welfare services, interventions for youth and prevention.

Kudos to McLemore for quickly making an impact on the lives of innocent children and providing them with a warm meal in advance of Turkey Day! Not only that, McLemore also should be commended for partnering with an agency such as Houston Serenity Place, which truly has a great cause.

Next: Harden

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

James Harden

Since arriving in Houston in 2012, James Harden has been a staple of the Houston community. Harden donated $240K to renovate Houston basketball courts that were ravished by Hurricane Harvey and donated one million dollars to the city of Houston following Hurricane Harvey.

Harden’s 3 the Harden Way foundation has annually held a Thanksgiving dinner for the less fortunate during each of his eight seasons with the Rockets. The fact that Harden has done this every year in Houston says a lot about his character, as he’s been a staple of consistency in the Houston community.

This year, Harden’s camp picked the North Main Church of God and Christ for their event, which is roughly seven miles from the Toyota Center. Harden and his foundation provided meals for 250 Houstonians who are less privileged and certainly appreciative of the kind gesture.

For his part, Harden spoke about how much it means to him to be able to assist these families and get to know each of them. In fact, Harden mentioned that he’s banged up (which the Rockets surely don’t need) but that his focus is not on himself but on helping others instead.

James Harden joining with his mother & his foundation to provide a Thanksgiving meal for about 250 people at N.Main Church of God & Christ.James says moments like this help him get away from the grind of the season:”I’m a little banged up right now & I don’t even care about that” pic.twitter.com/siC3uFoGJG

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 26, 2019

Kudos to Harden and his foundation for making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate. His consistency with charitable efforts is certainly admirable.

Next. Should the Rockets be more accepting of the 2-point shot?

Bigger than that, the entire Rockets organization deserves high praise for emphasizing the importance of giving back to the needy and committing to making Thanksgiving a special holiday in the hearts of the less privileged.

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