With fame comes power and prestige, not to mention wealth. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into charity or goodwill toward all. However, there are NBA players with all the world’s comforts, who, like U.S. Marines, offer what they can with the same selfless service. Here are five NBA players who — through charity and time — represent the spirit of altruistic understanding on the foundation of “we over me.”
Obviously, donating money and time isn’t the same as putting your own life on the line when people join the Marine Corps, but these NBA players have gone above and beyond the pale to try and enrich the lives of others and make the world a more decent place. This world could use more NBA players like these five.
5. Tim Duncan
Obviously Duncan is a selfless player, taking a pay reduction so his team can remain in the thick of a crowded Western Conference playoff race. But he’s again an All-Star this year, and his magnanimity extends beyond the court as well. His TimDuncan Foundation at slamduncan.com is one of the best around, working in education and youth sports. If Duncan doesn’t evoke the cause to protect and serve, we don’t know who does.
4. Taj Gibson
Per teammate, Joakim Noah, by way of the Chicago Sun-Times, comes this illuminating quote about Gibson’s team-first mentality on the court:
“To me I think Taj [Gibson] is probably the most selfless player in the NBA,’’ Noah said. “Whenever he’s called upon he always delivers. He brings it on the line every time. A lot of guys in his position might be upset with, you know, ‘I’m not starting,’ all of that. That sets the tone for our team, too. We all know that, everybody knows that, but in order to get to where we want to get to we need a big Taj Gibson.’’
That’s not all. Whether Gibson is traveling to Thailand or visiting a local children’s hospital to “just show my face and try and lighten their day,” he’s one of the best examples of what any team can accomplish when they work as a group, rather than a single entity.
3. Dikembe Mutombo
On the court, Dikembe Mutombo’s teammates could always count on his presence in the paint protecting the rim and acting as a blockade against any and all offensive players who scoot through.