Former Jayhawks team up to help kids stay fit

Sept. 20, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan.–Former Kansas basketball players Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich were on hand Tuesday, to help spread the word about the importance of exercising to kids at the East Heights Boys and Girls Club in Lawrence.

The program is called “FitClub34” and was started by fellow Jayhawk and NBA champion Paul Pierce.

“When it comes to their health, I think trying to get kids to develop good habits is a great cause,” Collison said. “Children often start out on the wrong path and continue that way the rest of their lives, so it is good to educate young kids on how to be healthy and stay fit early on.”

Getting those children on the right path includes a membership to Pierce’s “FitClub34”, which comes with a Paul Pierce activity watch that can track physical activity. For every 60-minutes of exercise logged, members of the program receive special codes, which they can put into the FitClub34 website in exchange for points and prizes.

“I think it is a great thing that Paul is doing,” Aldrich said. “School has started and kids are now thinking about their video games and doing things indoors, which is why it was so important to have kids come out here to exercise and have fun.”

Both Aldrich and Collison, who are not only Jayhawks, but current teammates on the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, joined the couple dozen children at the club as they practiced passing and shooting as well as other cardio drills.

“When I was a kid, my parents probably thought somebody kidnapped me because I was always out playing football in a friend’s backyard,” Aldrich remembered. “I think in some aspects that has changed today, with all the technology. That’s why it is so beneficial to go outside and play tag or just ride your bike.”

Pierce, who will be in town this weekend, for the “Legends of the Phog” event, has also partnered with head coach Bill Self’s Assists Foundation as well as Kansas Athletics to spread the word about diet and exercise to kids in Lawrence.

“We are excited about this partnership,” Self said. “Paul is as passionate as we are about encouraging kids to get active and live healthy lives.”

For more information on the “FitClub34”, or to become a member, log onto: