Professional athletes have an incredible opportunity to improve not only their personal lives and the family around them, but also entire communities they grew up in. Devean George spent seven seasons as a Los Angeles Laker, but his work after having retired is probably more impactful than anything he did on the court.
He says as much in the video below, which documents work he’s doing in the Minnesota town he grew up in to help low-income families gain a footing by way of affordable housing, groceries and education.
Affordable housing is the foundation. The stepping stone to get families out of survival mode. That's what @BuildingBlksMN is all about. @PlayersTribune @AmFam #TakeAction #AmFamPartner pic.twitter.com/skLQU1oZGB— Devean George (@DeveanGeorge) May 30, 2018
This didn’t just start after his playing days were over. As a Laker, twice a season, he would fly 10 participants (and their chaperones) in the “Why Can’t I Go?” program out to Los Angeles, put them up in a hotel, get them tickets to a game and a trip to Disneyland.
As a member of the Dallas Mavericks, he donated time and money to Buckner International, an organization that helped provide materials and personal support to children in suboptimal situations (orphanages, abusive relationships, impoverished households, etc.). He would also “adopt” five families each holiday season, providing gifts they would not otherwise be able to afford.
His focus since retiring has been on the George Group North, a real estate organization that specializes in affordable housing in his native North Minneapolis. On top of that, he serves as executive director of Building Blocks, a mentorship program for low-income youth. Those efforts are highlighted in the video above. Kevin Garnett is also involved with these endeavors.
It’s amazing to see athletes take advantage of their talents and gifts in order to give back in ways like George has both while he was playing and on into retirement. He’s legitimately changing lives and making these communities better. For that, he deserves nothing but a ton of credit and respect.