Wednesday June 11th, 2014 will be a day many young kids in Little Haiti will never forget. It marked the opening of a new NBA Cares Learn & Play Center at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex.
The NBA and Miami Heat worked together to make it happen and the execution on dedication day was a blast for both the kids and some Miami Heat players who played with them after the ribbon cutting.
Chris "Birdman" Andersen said, "What better place than this to come and experience the level of learning and fun."
But before the kids were let loose to read, use brand new technology, and play games with some Miami Heat players, one Heat legend, Alonzo Mourning, gave the kids a bit of a pep talk.
"I remember having a place to go to grow and develop and do my homework, to learn, and to play," Mourning said. "I want you to take advantage of this facility, the good people that are here working, that are coming here daily to make your lives better. Soak it all up, take it all in."
For 9-year-old Valentina Elar, playing Uno with Mario Chalmers is like a dream come true.
"It's like a dream come true because I never saw him in real life," Elar said.
After hearing that, Mario Chalmers said, "It just brings a smile to my face. It makes me forget all about the loss yesterday."
The kids who use the NBA Cares Learn & Play Center will constantly be surrounded by who they will always refer to as winners because the area is decorated in a Miami Heat theme.
The facility is the 14th Learn & Play Center the Heat have created in South Florida.