Few NBA players made better use of their All-Star break than Rajon Rondo.
The New Orleans Pelicans point guard and Louisville native treated more than 320 students in his hometown to a screening of the box-office smash hit “Black Panther” over the weekend.
Area students who submitted “an essay about historical events, people or places in black history” were treated to the movie, popcorn and a drink through Rondo’s Assisting Youth Foundation, WDRB-TV reported. The four-time All-Star attended the event and posed for pictures with the students.
#NBA star @RajonRondo renting out space at the Xscape Theatres Blankenbaker 14 for about 200+ #Louisville kids, including @LouisvilleCHS basketball team, to go see #BlackPanther today. pic.twitter.com/VhL7XU39Oi
— Phillip M. Bailey (@phillipmbailey) February 18, 2018
“It’s good for young black kids to see us in these star roles that they pretty much never see ever in their life,” Rondo told the Courier Journal. “So they can see our culture and race in lead roles in the movie, it says you can do anything you want in life. It’s all about surrounding yourself with positive people and continuing to push through any adversity you have in life.”
According to WDRB-TV, Rondo’s effort inspired two other local charities — Nerd Louisville and Wibby’s Foundation — to take another 170 students from the area to see the movie. “Black Panther,” a Marvel superhero film featuring a predominantly black cast, made more than $200 million over the weekend.
— Tejianna (@ShesMixedBeauty) February 19, 2018
“Just to see African-Americans on movie screens isn’t something you see often,” Central High basketball player M.J. Romaine told the local news.
Added Rondo, who played at Eastern High and the University of Kentucky: “It was an awesome movie. There were so many different storylines that went along with the movie that were told very well. For me personally, it’s … not giving up in the fight. Never count yourself out. Always believe in yourself.”
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