Find out how Garcia, Cousins, Evans and more joined Sacramento-area families in need to celebrate Thanksgiving. Plus, players dish on their holiday plans.
The hundreds of guests in attendance at Trinity Life Center on Monday experienced an unforgettable evening, as Kings players – including DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas and John Salmons – dancers, Team Member volunteers and the Kings Women’s Organization were on hand to prepare and serve an early Thanksgiving dinner to local families in need.
With joyous holiday music playing inside an auditorium filled with dozens of tables lined with purple and black tablecloths, the team’s stars and staff bustled about the packed room, spreading holiday cheer and brining smiles to the faces of Kings fans of all ages.
“It means a lot to come out here and spend time with the gentlemen, ladies and kids out here,” said Tyreke Evans. “It’s just a blessing to have this opportunity to actually come out and serve them dinner.”
In between pouring punch and lemonade, distributing traditional meals and doling out slices of pumpkin pie, players shared laughs with jubilant supporters and took time to pose for photos and sign autographs at the charitable celebration.
The annual event, benefiting local families, tipped off the team’s 11th Season of Giving.
“It shows that the Kings really care about the community – especially this time of year,” said Francisco Garcia. “It means a lot to be with the fans … everybody needs to be united because (the holiday season) is coming up. It’s good for us to show our support.”
Chuck Hayes, describing the event as an unbelievable experience, recognizes the importance of encouraging volunteerism and giving back to the community.
“We’ve been put in a position where we can light up some people’s lives and people look up to us,” said No. 42. “Even if they just know me from (seeing) me on TV, to meet me up close and personal, it brings a joy to their life and it brings a great spirit to mine.”
“It’s a day for giving,” affirmed Travis Outlaw with a smile. “It definitely means a lot to give back to the community, and also, by doing it, you learn to appreciate it for the things you do have.”
After brightening the holiday for so many Sacramentans, many players look forward to maximizing upcoming time with loved ones, too.
“My mom and my grandmother flew into town (Monday), so I’m going to be with them,” said Garcia. “(I’ll) spend as much time (as I can) with my family.”
Jason Thompson – whose parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle are visiting from out of town – also anticipates a festive holiday in his new house.
“We’re going to cook dinner, watch some football, watch some basketball and have a good time,” he said.
A healthy eater who prides himself on being in tip-top shape, No. 34 admits to occasionally straying from his nutritious regimen to enjoy a few of his favorites dishes on Thanksgiving.
“I like a little bit of everything,” he said with a smile. “Especially macaroni and cheese with the big noodles, sweet potatoes with the big marshmallows and Jell-O.”
While Evans expects to have dinner at a nearby friend’s house, Marcus Thornton – whose family is back in his hometown of Baton Rouse, La. – plans to take a quiet day to himself.
“(I’ll) probably hang out, watch some TV – just chill,” said No. 23. “I’m going to try make the most of it.
“(Usually my family and I) eat, watch football, laugh, joke around,” he added. “Just being around family – (there’s) nothing like it.”