NBA Fit Clinic in New York
June 23rd was an amazing day for Justin and his Quest. The NBA and The NBA Cares Program invited Justin and the family to Madison Square Garden in New York for their NBA Fit Clinic. The NBA was so gracious in having us part of this wonderful event. Justin could not sleep the night before because he was excited about the event. I got the kids up, Justin, Jacob and Joey at 6am to get ready. Unfortunately, Jordan and Audrey could not attend as Jordan had a college recruitment camp for soccer and she had to take him to southern Virginia. We left the house to go to the train station for a 8:20am train. The boys have never been on a train and were very excited for the ride. We met Jeff Kolodin, Vice Chair of NBTS, his son Michael and Chris Grundner with NBTS on the train. We arrived in New York at 12:30 pm and had a wonderful lunch at a diner nearby the Garden. Justin was getting antsy and he wanted to get to the Garden to practice shooting, so Chris called his NBA contact and they let us into the locker room where they had drinks and snacks for us and a special goody bag for Justin with alot of NBA gear. Wow we were being treated like VIP's. Justin and the boys took to the court and started shooting hoops before the event started at 3pm. The clinic was hosted by former NBA player's Bob Lanier and Felipe Lopez. Then the top 15 draft prospects arrived to do drills with the kids at the different stations set up on the court in the Garden. Before the festivities started Bob Lanier had some very kind words to say about Justin and his quest and how proud he was of Justin. Again, as a father seeing in disbelief that your son who has a brain tumor is making such a huge difference in trying to find a cure for brain tumors is incredibly emotional. You would think it would be easier for me to witness these events but I am filled with such emotion about the enormity of the situation that it is an awesome sight. Justin had a chance to shoot hoops and meet the draftees and especially John Wall who was drafted by the Washington Wizards. There were 100 boys and girls from the New York area that participated in the event. All of the shots that were made counted towards Justin's Quest. Overall 519 baskets were made and added to our total of 14,100. At the end of the event Justin was presented with 2 huge surprises, 2 signed basketballs, 1 signed by President Obama and the other by the 15 top draftees. Justin was very excited he has quite a collection of signed basketballs. You could see in his face his smile and the determination that he is raising awareness and trying to find a cure for brain tumors. Then we stayed after the event was over to do TV interviews. We left the Garden for our 5:40pm train at Penn station for a quick dinner in the station. I was mentally wiped and emotionally drained from the day. I got on the train had the 4 boys sit together and I sat behind them to watch them. Justin and I feel asleep for a bit. We got home around 10 pm. I want to thank the NBA and NBA Cares program for making this happen especially Eric DiMiceli, Alexandra Olson, Madeline Wehle Crandall, Jonathan Hammond, Todd Jacobson, Ahyian Deldridge all from the NBA. Also a big thanks for Chris Grundner from NBTS who was very instrumential in putting this together for Justin's Quest, Neil Keller a friend who has helped with his NBA contacts and Jeff Kolodin in working his magic in conjunction with the NBA to get the basketball signed by the President.