On Tuesday, some west-side San Antonio families had a very special guest come knocking on their door. Lonnie Walker IV, a second year member of the San Antonio Spurs, brought items to five families participating in the San Antonio Housing Authority Family Self-Sufficiency Program to help them celebrate Thanksgiving.
With the support of the Spurs organization and HEB, Walker outfitted five homes with all the necessities to have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, sides, even the cookwear was provided to help spread joy to these families.
After the last delivery was made, Walker IV was kind enough to share his thoughts on the inspiration and experience. So often, only soundbites from these events make it onto pieces. As I have done in the past, I chose to transcribe - to the best of my ability - the entire four minute interview.
[Note: The questions came from various journalists present. Only two were my actual questions.]
Question: Was this all your idea? How does a twenty-year-old guy come up with such an adult idea?
Lonnie Walker IV: This is just things that I love to do. This is what I’ve always dreamed about, just helping out. I’ve had my experiences growing up and I feel like, I always wished I had the opportunity have someone donate and give back and do things of that nature. Being able to see smiles and and happiness within other people is what it’s all about.
Q: What’s it like being at the onset of a life of community service?
LWIV: Excuse me?
Q: We often hear about Manu or somebody talking about what it’s been like, but you are at the onset of a life of community service, what’s that like?
LWIV: It’s amazing. This is honestly second nature to me so the ability to actually do it and have people like the Spurs organization and HEB and things of that nature seeing what I love to do and inspire others and keep other people happy, it’s like a dream.
Q: Lonnie, pretty much everybody in the city is a Spurs fans but not everyone can necessarily afford to go to games or make it to games, so for you to be able to give out tickets and also meet fans in person that might not otherwise get to meet you, what does that mean to you?
LWIV: A lot. It probably means more to them than it does to me. It builds a lot. I love to do it. Being able to see these people and talk to them it and being able to talk to me. It goes down a million different paths and just pure joy, so when it comes to me doing things it’s all about peace, love, and happiness.
Q: Did you have an NBA player come and visit you when you were growing up?
LWIV: No, but I remember going to basketball camps and being able to see some people, some professional players talk and speak. Chad Henne, from back home, he built a park and I thought that was one of the coolest things ever. Just trying to go down the right path and help others that need more help than me.
Q: How is the team helpful with you being able to put these projects together?
LWIV: This is what the Spurs organization is all about. They’re a bigger picture thing, that’s what I learned from Pop, and I’m a bigger picture thing so it’s only the right thing to do to spread my thoughts and have them agree and have my back throughout all these times.
Q: What was it like being home last week, doing the same kind of thing?
LWIV: Man, it was another dream, honestly. You know, going back home seeing old faces, seeing old familiar faces, helping out my community and people that helped me out during those hard times and keep me inspired through high school and things of that nature. It was only right but to give back.
Q: Growing up, what was Thanksgiving like in your house?
LWIV: It had its ups and downs, you know, like anything. It had its trials and tribulations, so we had times where we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and we had other times where - you know- we got to celebrate Thanksgiving. So to help others out, make sure they can celebrate the right way and the way it should be done warms my heart up.
Q: When you could celebrate do you have favorite foods?
LWIV: Oh, yeah, my dad made - my senior year - he made deep-fried turkey . . . ballpark. Macaroni, my grandmom makes this amazing macaroni. Yeah, don’t get me started, I might get in trouble now.
Lonnie Walker has the eloquence of a community servant far beyond his years. Even with a face full of cameras, he makes eye contact and really speaks from the heart. His devotion to the human spirit is truly inspiring.
Even as young as he is, his dedication to community service is embedded into his being. He has started the Lonnie Walker IV Foundation, which offers free basketball camps as well as helping to provide the necessities for a happy Thanksgiving. And through the support of donations, Walker is making a difference in Reading . . . and San Antonio . . . and everywhere he goes.
As it is Thanksgiving, I want to thank all of you Pounders who allow me to do what I love. Those of you who join in the conversation and share your thoughts. Those of you who recognize the greatness of the Spurs, both on and off the court. Those of you who support the team no matter what, the real fans. It’s a trying year, but showing love to the team who has shown us what a model franchise looks like is only fair. It’s our turn to make sure the Silver & Black hold their heads high. After all, as the greatest head coach in NBA history has pointed out- it’s what you do off the court that matters, the rest is just basketball.
Happy Thanksgiving, Pounders!
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