During the holiday season, many people become more generous and give to provide others with things that they need to have a happy holiday season. While the Utah Jazz participates in a lot of charity events to give back to the community, the NBA’s league-wide Hoops for Troops initiative is something special.
Collaborating with the Department of Defense, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the United Service Organizations (USO), and other military and veteran-serving organizations, the NBA strives to recognize and honor active duty and veteran service members and their families for their contributions to their country. The NBA accomplishes the initiative through a variety of methods, with each team honoring the troops in their own way. Some teams hold service projects, play scrimmages for military personnel, invite military members and their families to be VIP guests at functions, and visit patients in veterans’ hospitals. Even former NBA players like Ray Allen, whose father served in the United States Air Force, get in on the action and participate in different ways.
The Jazz have served the military in different ways throughout the years. In November 2014, players worked with military personnel to help refurbish the courtyard of the George E. Whalen Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City. They also stopped to take pictures and shake hands with hospitalized veterans.
In 2015, the Utah Jazz participated in a Hoops for Troops Week, where they held a Commitment to Service project and worked with local, active military personnel to sort food and pack backpacks with nutritional items for children. They also worked alongside kids for the Sorenson Multi-Cultural Center. In addition to that, two Utah Jazz players visited patients in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Players also honored military members by wearing special “Hoops For Troops” team apparel during a Military Appreciation Night.
In 2017, the Jazz played a scrimmage at Hill Air Force Base for military members and their families, along with signing autographs and posing for photos. Nearly 500 people attended the event. This year, according to the Hoops for Troops website, the Jazz plans to host another Commitment to Service event at Dave & Buster’s to honor military members and their families.
Through their year-round service, the Utah Jazz and the NBA continue to honor and boost the morale of veterans and their families throughout the country and abroad.