There aren’t many places in San Antonio where Gregg Popovich can hang out practically undetected, but Friday’s was a special kind of event.
Since 2016, Coach Pop has been working with Shoes That Fit, whose mission “is to tackle one of the most visible signs of poverty in America by giving children in need new athletic shoes to attend school with dignity and joy, prepared to learn, play, and thrive.”
He and Patty Mills outfitted Hirsch Elementary School’s 200 students that first year. Last year, with the help of Derrick White, Pop visited Pershing Elementary and once again, gifted each student a pair of brand new sneakers.
This year, Pop and Shoes To Fit brought in Bryn Forbes, The Coyote, Chief McManus and a dozen or so of San Antonio’s finest to Washington Elementary in SAISD where they handed out 400 pairs of shoes and vouchers for school uniforms to the students.
Additionally, each staff member received a pair of new sneakers and a $100 gift card to provide their classroom with school supplies.
As the students and staff packed the gym, the Spurs head coach casually sauntered in with a parade of goodies. For a brief moment in all the excitement, few fans realized who was helping pass out the gifts. Slowly but surely, the crowd recognized the celebrated coach, and he began to interact with the students.
Bryn Forbes, abut two dozen police officers, and Spurs POSSE members spent time helping each student change shoes.
Overall, it seemed to be complete pandemonium for a few minutes. There was so much positive energy in the air, and the looks of gratitude on the students’ faces were amazing.
One student ran over to Chief McManus and stopped him to tell him a very excited story. Even in all of the excitement and commotion, the two were talking like old friends as if they were the only two people in the room.
The Coyote made sure all of the children got a high-five and a chance to pose with him.
Even the Hype Squad got in on the action. With so many students to help get their sneakers tied, Evan and the crew were all over the floor supporting the cause.
At one point there were so many laces that needed to be tied that I set down my phone and jumped in. A student looked at me and said, “Do I really get to keep these?” The look on his face when I assured him those were his shoes was priceless.
Tomorrow: Part 2 of the Shoes That Fit/Popovich adventure as both Coach Pop and Bryn Forbes talk to the media.
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