Photo by Fernando Medina
Via the Orlando Magic:
The Orlando Magic always make an extra effort to increase their immense number of off-the-court endeavors around the holiday season.
This year is no different.
Prior to heading on his team’s west coast trip, the Magic’s Brandon Bass paid a visit to pediatric patients at Florida Hospital for Children to spread some holiday cheer.
The 6’8” power forward did his best impersonation of Kris Kringle, donning a Magic-themed Santa cap as he popped into the rooms of countless children throughout the evening.
“It’s a blessing for me to be able to do something like this,” he explained. “Coming from where I come from, it’s very humbling for me to be able to come to a hospital like this and be able to give kids a moment to forget their current situations and put a smile on their face.”
Along with spending time with a number of the patients, Bass walked through the halls pulling a wagon filled with goody bags that he delivered to kids upon each visit.
He also took time to take photographs, sing Christmas carols and hand out autographs.
“It was great,” said Brian Gribben, one of the kids touched by Bass’ tour. “It helps me forget what I am going through.”
But Bass wasn’t the only one doing the giving.
A young girl inspired by the Magic player’s visit, took time to illustrate a drawing and construct an ornament for Bass that he was more than happy to keep.
“This is huge,” he proclaimed with a wide-stretched smile as he pointed to the illustration. “I got this picture from one of the kids. I gave her a goody bag and she gave me a picture and a little ornament that I can put on the tree. I made a friend today.”
The Christmas season is a special time for Bass, who has experienced first-hand both the ups and downs of the holiday season.
He vividly recalls “great Christmases” when he was younger, once receiving a 10-speed bike and spending time with his mother before she passed in 1995.
Afterwards, the season became a little tougher as he and the rest of his family moved in with his aunt, who had to provide for five children of her own.
Now, he relishes the role of making the holiday season special for patients at the hospital and his own family.
“I have been playing Santa Claus for the last couple of years,” Bass explained. “I have been playing Santa Claus to my son, my girlfriend, my little brother and my cousin. They are going to have a Merry Christmas this year.”
While Bass doesn’t have any set plans for the holidays this year, he does have one Christmas wish.
“I don’t have any plans this year, except for beating Boston on Christmas day,” he said. “I don’t need a Christmas gift as long as we get that win.”
And that’s one gift that would bring smiles to Magic fans’ faces across the globe.