Special Olympians Participate in 26th Annual Wilt Chamberlain Clinic with Kansas Men's Basketball

Jan. 31, 2010

LAWRENCE, Kan. – More than 100 Special Olympians had the time of their lives as the University of Kansas men’s basketball team played host to the 26th 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 something Coach (Larry) Brown started many years ago and Coach (Roy) Williams continued and we have, it’s a great day,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “These guys and gals come in here and we love supporting them. It is certainly one of the bright days for us.”

With the goals lowered in Allen Fieldhouse, the Special Olympians broke up in groups and participated in eight different stations meeting and learning with the Jayhawk players, coaches and staff. High fives, fist pumps, hugs and many smiles brightened the faces of the Special Olympians and KU contingent. The clinic concluded with an autograph session.

“Seeing the smiles on these faces makes this one of the most fun things we do,” Kansas senior Sherron Collins said. “Coach told the new guys yesterday that this was something they will remember forever and the only thing sad about this one is that it’s my last one. Being able to work with these athletes at this event is very special.”

“We are on a quota system and these athletes live for that rotation to play with the Jayhawks and be at the KU clinic,” Donna Zimmerman, senior vice president of development and marketing for Special Olympics Kansas said. “They (the athletes) absolutely love it. The Jayhawks are their idols. They watch TV, see the games, know the scores and follow the team closely. The Jayhawks are very much their role models. It means a lot for them to play basketball at this event like they see it on TV with athletes like this.”

The Wilt Chamberlain Clinic is just one of many community service activities the Jayhawks do throughout the year.

“Whatever you do, your obligation in life is to make somebody else’s life better,” Self said. “That should be our goal every day when we wake up. It’s funny, when you do that, it usually comes back to you anyway. This group totally enjoys our guys. They like our guys. They support the Jayhawks. It’s our obligation to give back to those who could use a little support. It’s great and we are totally excited to be here each and every year.”