On Wednesday, four sets of families around the Washington area opened their front doors and welcomed in several large guests carrying wrapped Christmas presents. Washington Wizards point guard John Wall wore reindeer antlers over his red stocking cap. His backup, Tim Frazier, pushed a new baby stroller as a surprise for a family in a shelter. Bradley Beal pumped a celebratory fist when a mother called the visit — and the boxes and boxes of presents brought for her children — a blessing.
“Smiles on faces,” Beal said. “That’s what we do.”
For the seventh straight year, the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation rounded up players from the Wizards and WNBA’s Mystics to hand-deliver gifts to families in need during this holiday season. All the gifts were purchased by the wives and girlfriends of players on the Capitals and Wizards, as well as players from the Mystics and Valor, the local Arena Football League team.
The Wizards players, along with team President Ernie Grunfeld and Coach Scott Brooks, formed a traveling caravan with Mystics players Natasha Cloud, Elena Delle Donne and Tayler Hill. While Beal and Wall have held their own holiday events — Beal surprised shoppers at Walmart by purchasing their gifts at the register while Wall and his foundation hosted a special screening of “Jumanji” and paid the one-year tuition at DeMatha Catholic High School for one family’s son — the organization’s Family-To-Family initiative promoted teamwork within the Monumental Sports & Entertainment group.
At each stop, players filed out of the bus, stocked up with gifts and entered the homes. Kelly Oubre Jr. has chosen to participate every year since he’s been with the Wizards, and after the team’s practice Wednesday he dressed in white once again to help spread holiday cheer.
“This is like the best thing we could ever do, coming into peoples’ homes and invading their space just to make things better,” Oubre said. “The holidays are my favorite time of the year. So I like to put smiles on everybody that I can touch.”
Wizards guard Tomas Satoransky, a native of the Czech Republic, got to see a new side of his adopted city. The organization is constructing a new facility on the former St. Elizabeths Hospital campus for the Mystics and Wizards, and Satoransky appreciated visiting Southeast D.C. for the first time.
“Just to see the families getting excited and being happy, that’s what you want to do. To give back,” Satoransky said. “That’s what Christmas is all about, family and giving back. So, it’s a special moment.”
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