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George Gervin is one of the greats, both on the court and off

Renowned for his work on the court, Gervin proves his greatest contribution comes from life outside of the basketball.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Within an elementary school's library, shelves clutter with alphabetized books, and the Spurs Coyote removes a volume from the selection. The gathered children - some adorned in cowboy hats to celebrate the festive atmosphere - loose their marbles over the mascot, chatting excitedly with fervent, youthful excitement.

As they sit crosslegged around the floor, a former Spurs legend enters the usually quiet confines of the book sanctuary.

For a child, adults are giants, towering above as pinnacles of wisdom; they stare in wonder at this lumbering man, fascinated by his 6"7' height and the mystique of being a former member of the Spurs - his existence as fascinating as the stories read aloud from their illustrated books.

After his storied career, this is George "The Iceman" Gervin's preferred challenge - promoting education to the underprivileged and establishing programs to address the academic needs of today's youth. Conducted at Bowden Elementary School in downtown San Antonio, the event was part of the "Rodeo Read Trip" - an initiative to raise literacy rates in the Eastside Promise Neighborhood.

Spurs Sports and Entertainment conducted readings at eight different schools in SAISD. Every student received four age-appropriate books. Additionally, elementary school kid were gifted "Hoops to Hippos", a National Geographic Kids photography book by Spurs swingman Boris Diaw.

"Today is all about reading and letting our kids know that reading is fun and something that you have to do," Gervin said.

As an ambassador of the San Antonio community, Gervin is actively involved in seven organizations locally; in 1991, he opened the George Gervin Youth Center - an academic academy providing safe haven and influence to students from pre-K through high school.

"This community has supported me," Gervin said. "Now, I've got an opportunity to create different programs and to be able to have a positive impact on young people's lives. This is my family, and this is what we want to do for this community."

After his 12 season run with the Spurs - earning All-Star selections in each consecutive year - Gervin continues to be a lauded resident in the Alamo City. Recently, the Spurs honored his 20th anniversary induction into the Hall-of-Fame with Iceman night. Attendants were encouraged to dress up in clothing appropriate for the time period, and the AT&T Center was bouncing the funky rhythms of 70's nostalgia.

"It brings tears to your eyes, because it's good to be loved," Gervin said. "To have an organization be able to create a night for me, that's kind of unheard of. Just shows you how special that organization is. The San Antonio Spurs is special to me. I am apart of this family, and they do nothing but show me love."