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Sunday, May 16, 2021

West making impact off the floor

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If you know David West at all you realize he is a quiet leader both on the floor and in the locker room. A lot of that comes from his maturity as a person and not just a basketball player.

Off the court he is certainly a different story as his actions speak volumes in terms of his continual efforts to help those less fortunate and his focus on young people. The latest example of his commitment to the community of Indianapolis transpired at the Turning Point Christian School in Indianapolis where he treated 125 students who distinguished themselves in the classroom both in terms of academics and citizenship, with a holiday gathering that included food, Christmas gifts and even a visit from Pacer mascot Boomer. Getting the generous and modest West to talk about it is tougher than blocking him out on the boards, as he prefers to keep a low profile regarding his work.

“I just appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to help those who are less fortunate than myself,” offered the soft spoken West recently after a Pacer victory. “It is important to remember where one comes from and to extend a hand to those who might need it and more importantly, benefit from it.”

West and his wife Lesley have been active in the Indianapolis community since their arrival and have sponsored programs that feed individuals at Thanksgiving and provide formal wear for young people to wear at their respective High School proms. They have labored generously and quietly without fanfare, which seems to be the way West prefers things.

“Helping others is rewarding and enjoyable,” added West. “I am extremely grateful for everything I have and realize it is a blessing.”

Notes: West is enjoying a solid season this year and is an integral part of the Pacers splendid start.

The 10 year veteran who turned 33 this year is averaging 13 points a game along with 7 rebounds while shooting 80 percent from the foul line. While much of the talk about the Pacers championship hopes centers around Paul George and Roy Hibbert, I am of the opinion that West is the key to any title hopes Indiana has. His ability to go inside on both ends of the floor is crucial.

You can see West and his teammates four times this holiday season beginning tonight against the Houston Rockets. The Blue and Gold then host the Boston Celtics on Dec. 22, and the the Brooklyn Nets on Dec.28. They wrap up December when they play the Cleveland Cavaliers in a special New Years Eve matinee at 3 p.m.Tickets are still available at the Fieldhouse box office or at Pacers.com.

Danny Bridges who thinks the NBA could use a few more like David West, can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or at Bridgeshd@aol.com.

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