SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs have always put the community first throughout their franchise's history.
And Thursday night at the Westside Family YMCA was a perfect example of the Spurs' community spirit.
Guard Tre Jones took some time in his off day to visit with young athletes in San Antonio's Westside to lead a basketball training clinic with the Spurs Youth Basketball League.
The league was started by head coach Gregg Popovich and this season, he selected Jones as its ambassador.
The basketball clinic was packed with family and the athletes (ages 9-17) were taught fundamental skill development, shooting, passing, ball-handling, and defensive training by the Spurs Sports Academy coaches and Jones.
The Spurs guard showered the kids with praise, and encouragement, and even put on his coaching hat urging one athlete to learn to dribble so defenders cannot steal the ball.
Jones and the Spurs staff also made the athletes aware that sports can lead to healthier lives and positive community bonds.
After Jones' autograph session with the kids, we caught up with the Spurs guard to get his thoughts on the event and why giving back to San Antonio is important to him, and more.
Jeff: Why is a community event like this so meaningful for you?
Tre: It means a lot. I've talked about it before but making sure that I'm trying to get back to the community, obviously.
All these kids have so many dreams and aspirations of basketball, but it might be other things. And to just try to be here, be able to help out in any way possible.
To be able to help them continue to strive for any goals they have short term or long term, and try to just put a smile on their faces.
Jeff: Did it bring back memories of when you were in a camp like this?
Tre: For sure! Walking into a gym like this is super small, but there are hoops everywhere.
You can hear the shoes squeaking, you can hear how excited they're getting and everything. Does bring back a lot of memories of being a kid again and going to whatever camp or practice it was at nighttime.
Jeff: Did you have a pro player come to your camps when you were a kid?
Tre: I've been to a couple where there were some pro players.
Jeff: Who was it?
Tre: Cole Aldrich is the one I remember the most. He's a Minnesota guy. He was back home in Minnesota and I was able to go to a camp that he was at. But I think that was the one I remember the most. I just remember him dunking. He was so big.
Jeff: You spoke about getting proper sleep a lot with the young kids tonight. Is that something you believe in, in getting the proper amount of sleep?
Tre: For sure, getting sleep.
I feel like the kids when you're that age, love video games so much and it's growing so much in the youth and everything.
I think to continue to make sure that they know how important sleep is because, obviously, so much happens when you're asleep, your body is able to rest and replenish and get ready for the next day.
Obviously, these kids have long days at school, activities they have, whatever it is, and so making sure that we try to engrave that into their minds.