Returning home to give back to my alma mater with a lil’ fun & fitness.
Hard to believe this weekend will be my 9th NBA All-Star game, but who’s countin’. With the All Star break being in my hometown of LA and all, I thought this would be a special chance for me to get back to my roots and show appreciation for where I grew up and to all the people that contributed so much to my success. I also want to spread the message about my Truth on Health campaign and inspire kids to be active, so that’s why me and my team, including my good friends at Bing and HGTV, are launching my first ever All Star Health & Fitness Festival right back on my old stompin' grounds, Inglewood High.
I look at my high school as the place where it all started for me as far as basketball goes, and I’m real grateful for all the support I got from the coaches and teammates I had over the years. If it weren’t for Inglewood HS, I flat out wouldn’t be where I am today. Sounds cliché, but it’s The Truth. I used to run my camps there every year and I even announced where I was goin' to college right there in the gym. And this fall, I had my jersey retired there. It was really an honor for me and my family. Just a great day all around and one I’ll never forget.
Not only did I learn how to play ball and get an education there, but I also learned what I needed to do to stay in shape and be healthy. That was a huge factor in helping me get on the right path for my career. And my Truth on Health program was inspired by what I learned from my experiences playing ball and being an athlete at Inglewood HS, so for that I wanna try to do what I can to return the favor.
A highlight of the activities we have planned is the remake of an old storage space into a state-of-the-art locker room for the students at Inglewood. I don’t know if you’ve seen HGTV’s “Home by Novogratz,” but the designers from that show are gonna unveil this amazing new space for everyone to see. I’m really excited. Doesn’t seem like the facilities have been updated too much since I was runnin' the court over there, so I’m really excited to be able to help out with that.
It’s real important to have facilities where kids can work out with the right equipment and a big problem in our country right now in addition to gym class being scaled back is that schools aren’t investing in quality facilities so students have nowhere to go if they want to be active. HGTV and I teamed up to try and help fix this problem at Inglewood High. I’m really hoping the kids like it – I hear it even trumps our locker room! Just want to do what I can to return the favor in terms of everything Inglewood High has done for me.
And Microsoft? They’re stepping up their game big-time and supporting this event through their search engine Bing. They’re donating 600 Switch2Health Paul Pierce Activity Watches to the students who come. They track exercise for my FitClub34 so people can earn points and redeem them for prizes when they exercise consistently. I want kids to know how to be fit and to help them have access to the information and resources they need to accomplish their goal, and I really appreciate Bing’s support on that. Their donation will really help kids take that important first step towards leading a healthy lifestyle, which is what my Truth on Health campaign is all about.
My All Star Health & Fitness Festival is gonna be a real fun day of getting fit and interacting with my young fans and some of my favorite guys in the NBA. I’m grateful to those guys for supporting my cause. KG and Ray will be there and also Kevin Love, Craig Smith, Dorrell Wright and Brandon Jennings. Not just ball players, either – Maria Menounos from “Today” and “Access Hollywood” will be in the house – special props to her for supporting my Truth Strikes Again celebrity bowling fundraiser at Foxwoods back in December. She’s a great fan and shares my philosophy on fitness and healthy living. Plus, the choreographer Lil C – I know you’ve probably seen him on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Rocsi Diaz from BET’s “106 & Park” is coming, and so is Tristan Wilds from “90210.” But the most important guests of the day will be the kids and the reps from Inglewood High, this is really for them, to thank them and give back.
We’ll run through a bunch of fitness activities throughout the day in the high school gym with the students and other participants. My program is all about incorporating all kinds of exercise into kids’ daily routines. Anything that gets them up, off the couch and movin' is worth doing so we’ll try some yoga, Microsoft Kinect for XBOX 360 routines and dancing. I may even bust out the Paulie….Ya’ll know I love to dance, and pro Lil C is gonna lead the charge in that department. And of course there’s gonna be hoops clinics led by my guys - if you’re lucky Ray might even share his secret for making that shot look so smooth. You can check it all out by watching my video post on Boston.com with footage from the event.
This Health & Fitness Festival will be a really special chance for me to give back to Inglewood High School and the neighborhood I grew up in, which holds a special place in my heart. I think it’s real neat that we got kids, my teammates, pro players, celebrities, gym teachers, and everyone in between all coming together to help celebrate what life’s all about: appreciating where you came from. And don’t you ever forget it.
Paul Pierce's Truth on Health campaign empowers and encourages young people to lead healthier lives by providing them with the information, resources, and tools necessary to become more active and physically fit. To learn more, visit www.truthonhealth.org
Follow Paul Pierce on Twitter @PaulPierce34 and @TruthonHealth and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/paulpierce
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About the authorPaul Pierce is the captain of the Boston Celtics. Pierce has spent his entire career with the Celtics since being drafted in 1998 out of Kansas, and led them to their 17th NBA Championship in 2008, when he was the NBA Finals MVP. More »
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For more information on FitClub34, visit TruthonHealth.org