SEATTLE — Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School alumni Jamal Crawford made his dream of playing in the NBA come true in the year 2000 when he was drafted 8th overall. He played for a staggering 20 seasons and nine different teams. Yet Crawford says the real dream is his impact off the court.
“After you accomplish that dream it’s like… naw, the cool thing is how you can help inspire and how you can help people.”
Crawford teamed up with World Vision to host his 12th annual backpack drive at Rainier Beach High School on Monday. Nearly 1,000 backpacks were stuffed with essential supplies as well as disinfecting wipes, sanitizer and masks.
Crawford said he remembers when he didn’t have all of the supplies he needed in school and that kept him from being able to focus in class. He doesn’t want students to be embarrassed like he was.
“That’s half the battle. If they can get to school on time and have what they need and be fully prepared…I think you’re more invested in learning and you can thrive.”
Crawford chose to team up with Federal Way-based World Vision because he says they share his same beliefs.
“It’s about helping people and showing compassion," Crawford said. "That travels all over the world and I think it’s contagious. So I think the more we do that, the better off the world can be.”
Reed Slattery is the National Director of U.S. Programs for World Vision and said they are proud to be able to provide so many students with the supplies they need, loaded up in a new backpack.
“I feel like a backpack is just a sense of normalcy for these kids and anything we can do to help them feel confident and safe for the return to school is why we’re here.”
Hundreds of cars lined up for a drive-through style event and Crawford even made time to load up a cart and deliver some thank you gifts to teachers who were busy preparing their classrooms for the return of students.
“There’s no better feeling than helping people in need, especially kids and their families because they’ll never forget that,” Crawford said.