The Jr. Celtics, comprised of boys ages 7 to 8, were nominated by Kirk Waller, recreation coordinator for the Brentwood Parks and Recreation Department, and selected from hundreds of teams around the Bay Area. A 13-year-old Tracy squad was also selected.
On March 26, the two teams participated in a special mini-camp on the Golden State Warriors' court at Oakland's Oracle Arena in the early afternoon. They learned proper shooting skills and worked on ball handling, passing and footwork, after which they participated in a shooting contest.
"The kids had such a great time," said Jr. Celtics coach Dave Bentancourt. "They absolutely loved being out there where the Warriors play."
Later that night, the Warriors hosted the San Antonio Spurs and just before halftime the kids got an even bigger treat.
"They let us stand in the Spurs tunnel and as they passed some of the players gave the kids high-fives," Bentancourt said. "They absolutely loved it."
After slapping hands with Spurs center Tim Duncan and several others, the kids were ushered out to center court, where they were recognized before the capacity crowd. Footage of their mini camp experience was shown on the big screen as they were presented with a plaque by Warriors staff.
"It was cool because the players were actually at each end of the court warming up for the second half," Bentancourt said.
Warrior big man Andris Biedrins stopped to take a photo with the kids just before they exited the court and headed to their provided seats.
"It was a great experience," Bentancourt said. "It's definitely something they won't soon forget."