The San Antonio Spurs demonstrated their seamless teamwork Monday night, but this time it wasn’t on the hardwood.
Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Patty Mills, LaMarcus Aldridge and almost all the silver and black slipped on aprons instead of jerseys to serve more than 120 people dinner at The Grill at Leon Springs. (Click on photo gallery above to see more.)
The “Champions Against Hunger” dinner is $12,000 per table and there’s quite a waitlist. Obviously the players, each with lucrative contracts, don’t need the money. The annual dinner, now in its fifth year, benefits the San Antonio Food Bank.
People interested in being placed on the list may contact Michael Guerra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-431-8303.
Guests this year included Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus, and Harvey Najim.
“In our situation, when we’re making the money that we’re making it’s truly embarrassing if you don’t share that in a meaningful way,” said Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, mincing no words, as usual. “We’re not embarrassed to make the money – the money is earned – but then what you do with it is really the measure of who you are; how you help others and how you try to equalize things. Short of that, existence is pretty meaningless.”
Popovich said the team naturally surrounds itself with “people who have gotten over themselves … (who) understand that each of us is just a cog in the wheel – they’re just part of it. If you think you’re more than that, you’re in for a rude awakening at some time in your life because nobody is indispensable.”
Dinner guests enjoyed a multi-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Thierry Burkle and The Grill team.
“Every single player (save for Manu Ginobili, who is resting after an injury) and coach is on the court, so to speak, delivering this amazing food, pouring wine, engaging with the guests,” said Eric Cooper, president and CEO of San Antonio Food Bank. Assistant Coach Becky Hammon was also on hand, chatting up the guests. “But at the end of the day, it’s raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to help generate 4 million meals that will go out to serve kids and seniors and families throughout South Texas.”
Cooper gives the credit for creation of the event to Coach Pop’s vision.
“Our amazing San Antonio Spurs are so casual in their volunteer work,” Cooper added. “It’s them giving as much as those guests are giving.”