Jameer Nelson vividly remembers a time as a child when his family often had trouble making ends meet and holiday meals weren’t quite so hearty while growing up in a rough part of Chester, Pa.
So when Nelson got word that Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was funding a Thanksgiving breakfast on Thursday morning for more than 600 homeless people of Central Florida and families in desperate need, the standout guard made it a point to attend.
“Everybody’s not as fortunate as we are. I’ve been through rough times myself, I know what it is to be down and out and I know what it is to not have certain benefits that you might want,’’ said Nelson, who defied the odds as an undersized player and made it to the Magic where he is the team’s co-captain.
“Coach made it very clear where his heart is and where his thoughts are with this event and I just wanted to be supportive of him and do what I could to help.’’
Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide, team president Alex Martins, Van Gundy, Nelson and 175 staffers from the organization did what they could to help on Thursday morning, brightening the day of more than 600 people at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.
It’s the 18th consecutive year that the Magic have put together a function on Thanksgiving morning, and the benefits of the hot meal, warm hospitality and a fun-filled kids’ carnival could be seen splashed across the faces of those who attended.