Special Olympians take to Allen Fieldhouse as part of annual Wilt Chamberlain Basketball Clinic
Jan. 29, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – There may have not been a Jayhawk game inside Allen Fieldhouse Sunday, but that
did not stop hundreds of Special Olympians from having the time of their lives.
It was all part of the 28th annual Wilt Chamberlain Basketball Clinic, where Special Olympic athletes came from all across Kansas as well as the KC metro area to participate in the two-hour long event.
“This is a highlight for all of us,” said KU head coach Bill Self. “Working with the Olympians is so cool because everything seems so unconditional. Just the love that they show us makes me think we get more out of today, then what they actually get out if it.”
This being their first clinic with the Special Olympians in two years, Coach Self and his staff wanted to make sure the participants received the full Allen Fieldhouse experience.This was the first year since 2010 that Coach Self and his players were able to host the event, as in 2011 the KU women stepped in to put it on because of weather delays that forced the Jayhawk men to remain out of town.
“We are going to have some different stations, including dunk, shooting and ball handling stations,” Self explained. “Usually they get a big kick-out of it, but I think the dunk station without question is the most popular.”
Another popular part of Sunday’s clinic was the free giveaways that each clinic participant would be taking home with them. Autographed team pictures as well as commemorative basketballs were just some of the items Special Olympians would be walking away with, in addition to their unforgettable memories of the event.
“Our guys have a pretty good platform here, being players at the University of Kansas,” Self thought. “And I think if you can sacrifice some of your time to benefit others who have been dealt a difficult hand; it is something you should do.”
The clinic was initially started by former KU head coach Larry Brown in the mid 1980s, but has since been renamed in honor of Chamberlain, who left money from his estate to help sustain the event. Sunday’s clinic is just one of many community service activities the Jayhawks take part in throughout the year.