The Cleveland Cavaliers honored veterans and active duty service members on Saturday, dedicating their annual Wine & Gold Scrimmage to the men and women of the Armed Forces.
Members from almost every branch of the Armed Forces came to the Rudolph Ursprung Gymnasium at Baldwin Wallace University for an intimate look at the Cavs 2013-2014 squad as they get ready for the upcoming NBA season. The intimate look included the Cavs doing some drills as well as an intra-squad scrimmage which was ended early due to a slippery court.
The focus, however, was not on the Cleveland Cavaliers but rather the men, women and families in attendance who represented all those who serve and have served in the United States Armed Forces. Coast Guard, Navy, Army and Marines uniforms could be seen around the arena and on the court during time outs and after the scrimmage.
The Cavaliers coaches and players fully supported and were excited about the idea of hosting members of the military at the scrimmage.
Head coach Mike Brown said Friday that “My dad is retired Air Force. With what’s going on in the world today and what the families have to go through, if you can show them your appreciation in any way, shape or form you’d love to do it. Hopefully they enjoy it tomorrow.”
And enjoy it they did.
Service members and their kids were active participants in the Gold & Wine Scrimmage festivities, playing musical chairs, searching for certain spots on the court while blindfolded and dizzy and competing in a three-point shootout which awarded the winner a month’s mortgage payment courtesy of Quicken Loans. Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers support and are committed to veterans and active duty service members of the Armed Forces.
For the three-point shootout, the participants were offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Members of the Armed Forces were paired with different members from the Cavs for one-on-one coaching and motivation through the duration of the contest. Players like Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving could be found either coaching up the participants or taking time to sign autographs for boys dressed in Army t-shirts.
The winner of the shootout was Ervy Jones, a member of the United States Navy. Ervy received a $1,000 prize to put towards a mortgage payment courtesy of Quicken Loans.
The night ended as kids lined up to get autographs from players five times their size. It was a fitting end to an event that highlighted the Cavs team, but spotlighted the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.