Kansas Men's Basketball Hosts Special Olympians in 25th Annual Wilt Chamberlain Clinic
Jan. 25, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Hugs, high fives, dunks and lots of smiles were the theme as more than 100 Special Olympians had the time of their lives as the University of Kansas men’s basketball team played host to the 25th Annual Wilt Chamberlain Basketball Clinic Sunday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse.
The clinic is sponsored by former KU legend Wilt Chamberlain who left the money to fund the event in his estate. The Special Olympians came from all across the state of Kansas and the Kansas City metro area.
“This is the 25th year that the KU basketball program has hosted this in Wilt Chamberlain’s honor,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “It’s a great day for us. I promise you we get more out it than what the athletes do that come in here. It’s a great day to share and touch other people’s lives and at the same time to feel how fortunate we are to play the game we love and to run up and down the floor without any restrictions.”
“I really believe the more people give the more you get out of it,” Self added. “Our program surely benefits from this event.”
With the goals lowered in Allen Fieldhouse, the Special Olympians broke up in groups and participated in eight different stations learning and honing their basketball skills with the Jayhawk players, coaches and staff.
“Our athletes look forward to a lot of events and activities throughout the year but I think the University of Kansas basketball clinic is probably one of their most favorite events they attend year in and year out,” Chris Hahn, CEO and president of Kansas Special Olympics said. “They absolutely love it.”
At the start of the event, Hahn presented Self a framed piece of art honoring the 25th anniversary of the Special Olympics Clinic. The artwork included a special 25th anniversary logo, photos from throughout the clinic’s years and a trio of Special Olympic medals.
“This is great to do something for the less fortunate,” Kansas junior Sherron Collins said. “This is a learning experience for our team and has been a big highlight for us every year. To see the smiles and excitement on theses athletes faces when they make a basket makes this a special event.”