Atlanta Hawks support the brave ahead of Veterans Day
‘So grateful for this experience’
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Frank Kaminsky is 7 feet tall. An NBA center and power forward with the Atlanta Hawks.
To the small group of veterans, he’s been invited to speak to inside State Farm Arena, his height reflects his life: BIG.
Big confidence. Big money. Big success. Kaminsky begs to differ.
“You know there’s a lot of doubt and anxiety and fear that comes in with a lot of what we do. It’s not just always showing up and the ball is going to go through the hoop and everything so great every time” adds Kaminsky.
Last year, Kaminsky hurt his knee. Before that self-doubt. For the past four years, Kaminsky has only been offered single-year contracts. He plays year-to-year, never sure if he’ll get called back to play in the NBA again. Yet he pushes on. The unknown has made him hungry, as it has humble.
“Basketball has been everything for me, my whole life since I was a little kid. But for the first time in my life, I don’t know if I’m going to continue to keep playing,” said Kaminsky.
Real talk before a captive audience.
Retired soldiers – Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines – all relating to Kaminsky. They’ve served their country. Lived their dream. Reacclimated to civilian life, but now they can’t find a job.
The feeling is demoralizing.
One veteran admits to the crowd, he feels lost.
Kaminsky encourages him. He understands the fragility of becoming injured. He’s one away from the unemployment line.
“It’s hard to go through. And a lot of people, I’m sure struggle with the same stuff. How I am going to be able to get through this walk of life?”
Kaminsky, who has never served in the military, wants to help those who have served, navigate life’s tough spots. “I love our country. I love people who are willing to put something bigger in front of themselves. "
But it’s one thing to stand up for something… it’s another to stand in the gap.
Kaminsky decided this veteran’s holiday was the time to do it.
So he, along with the Atlanta Hawks, Georgia Power, and the True to You Career Center for U.S. military vets catered food for a group of veterans, and provided a training event for career readiness as well as a panel discussion featuring veterans employed by both companies.
King John, a participating veteran and entrepreneur called the event life-changing. “So grateful for this experience,” said John.
The 5-hour training event, provided John and the other attendees with a certificate that can be listed as a professional development experience on their resume, as well as two tickets to “Veterans Appreciation Night”on Nov. 9.
Inside the empty arena, smiles are contagious. Hope is in the air. Especially after Georgia Power’s workforce development manager Jamal Jessie offered an attending veteran a job on the spot. “We’ve got opportunities for people who want to work!” said Jessie.
Kaminksy claps. The veterans cheer. In many ways, basketball mirrors the game of life: Together, we’re stronger.
“I’m definitely going to take away a lot from this. Veterans served our country and did a lot for me to have the privilege to be able to play this game.”
The Atlanta Hawks will host Veterans Appreciation Night presented by Georgia Power at the game against Utah on Wednesday, Nov. 9. The night will recognize the sacrifice and service of those who have served in the military with various giveaways and interactive activations. A special ticket offer for Wednesday night’s game includes a $10 food-and-beverage credit, and a Hawks’ green ‘Veterans Appreciation’ shirt while supplies last. Fans can secure this offer by visiting Hawks.com/promotions.
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