Citizen Airmen Children Participate in Team USA Junior Lakers Combine

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jessica Gross
  • 452 AMW Public Affairs

Many professional sports organizations offer programs to the children of Servicemembers.  The National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers is no exception.  Throughout the years, the professional basketball team has made an effort to offer various events specifically to Airmen and their families assigned to March ARB.

The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Team USA Junior Lakers Combine, here at March ARB, September 6.  With over 300 children of Team March members in attendance, they were given the opportunity to put their skills to the test.  Participants participated in a series of conditioning drills, exercises, and games to foster team building.  At the conclusion of the event, children were given a gift bag and select children received a “golden ticket” that included special entrance to a future Lakers game.

The children and their families also were given the chance to meet Lakers coaches, the Lakers Girls, and former notable player Metta World Peace (also known as “Ron Artest”).  

The daughter of Master Sergeant Susy Granillo, assigned to the 4th Air Force Command, participated in the event.  Granillo’s daughter, Saraya (8), was one of the first participants in the numerous exercises hosted by the Lakers coaches.  When asked how she felt as a parent to have her daughter participate in an event with the Lakers, Granillo said “Having my daughter in an event like this gives her empowerment and shows her to be whatever she wants to be.”  Granillo explained how events such as this shows children that they can overcome adversity.  “This helps my daughter understand the ability to overcome stereotypes,” said Granillo.

The two children of Gil Reyes, spouse of Team March Master Sergeant Hilda Martinez-Reyes, won a “golden ticket” during the event.  Isabella Reyes (16) and Gabriella (9) expressed their excitement knowing that they would be able to attend a professional basketball game prior to their mother’s deployment later this year.  “This was a great experience for kids and now that my wife is deploying, this event brings us closer together and even closer to the base as a family,” said Reyes.