It’s been a busy winter for Veniceball and the Hoopbus, with the team coming together for our favorite activity, community giveback. Like all great holiday projects, the first step in spreading cheer was ensuring the Hoopbus was dripping in holiday spirit, so that’s exactly what we did, and after a considerable amount of elbow grease the Hoopbus was transformed into the seasonal Hoop Sleigh. Suddenly we were ready to roll out.
Winter Classic Toy Drive
Holiday festivities continued on December 3rd, with the sixteenth annual Veniceball Winter Toy Drive. Partnering with Timeless and the Shoe Surgeon, we filled the Hoop Sleigh to the brim with merch, basketball relics and grown men dressed as holiday figures, creating a night of magic and fun while collecting toy donations along the way. Activities included pickup games, a DJ set, a silent auction, an open bar, smokers lounge and most importantly, a dunk contest held down by Elijah Bonds. Silent auctioneers came away with small treasures including a Dirk Nowiski autographed ball, custom Nikes from the Shoe Surgeon, Timeless products, and even limited culture print shirts from Gustavo Zermeño, all while contributing towards supplying kids with a bounty of toys.
Magic Johnson Toy Giveaway
Ensuring the hard-earned toys found homes was the next step on the dossier, so we teamed up with Magic Johnson, the LA Rams, the Lakers, and the Dodgers at Crete Academy to play Santa for the community. Along with the toys collected by the Hoopbus, Target generously contributed 400 bikes, making for a beautiful day in LA filled with the smiles of happy children. There was pony rides, a bounce house, cookie decorating and of course basketball games on the Hoop Sleigh featuring White Chocolate as Santa and Angel “Bubbz” Gutierrez Mendoza as the Grinch.
Russell Westbrook Community Day
We continued the season with Russell Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation, joining the team December 11th at the Crenshaw Family YMCA in South LA to help impact community members with immediate, practical offerings of on-the-spot health services, educational services, and job training. We rolled up and brought the Hoopbus for some play time, helping Russ spread some love and basketball the the grateful community. Check out Veniceball dunking phenom Chris Staples‘ recap of the event on his YouTube.
Dwight Howard Court Unveiling
Closing out our holiday run in style, we joined Dwight Howard’s Grand Champion Foundation in opening their newly renovated court at the Edward Vincent Jr. Park in Inglewood. Black Santa and the Grinch had to make a final appearance to get some buckets before being locked away in the North Pole (read: storage) until next year. With sponsorships from Arrowhead Water, Wilson Basketball, Xbox, Mattel and the Lakers Organization, the opening turned out a huge success, and the court will surely serve as home for many future basketball players over the years to come.
Until next year, the Hoop Sleigh has since returned to its usual form, the Hoopbus, but the mission of serving the community remains the same. Tune in to Veniceball and Hoopbus socials as well as the Hoopbus website to stay up to date on the miles we’re putting on the odometer this year, and the communities we touch on the way. Happy holidays from our family to yours, and as always, wishes for more buckets in 2022.