What I've learned throughout this past NBA season is that it's not all about hitting jumpshots. While I may be known as Novakaine, "the Wisconsin native sharpshooter," I have learned that there is a greater responsibility that we are given than making sure the ball finds its way into the basket. When I became an NBA player, I soon realized we were all blessed to be given this platform and that what we individually decide to do with it will most likely determine our legacies. My game is a reflection of what I have to give, both professionally and personally, and while the NBA supports giving back to philanthropy, hands-on service and legacy projects, I continuously contribute in my free time to several causes and charitable programs that are close to my heart. Specifically, one of the charities I support is the Loeys-Dietz Syndrome Foundation (LDSF), a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging education about Loeys-Dietz syndrome and related connective tissue disorders to medical professionals and communities all over the world. In addition to aiding in identification, diagnosis and treatment of Loeys-Dietz syndrome, the foundation also funds research and provides a support network for individuals, parents and families affected by the syndrome.
My involvement with LDSF started when I met a 9-year-old girl, who had Loeys-Dietz syndrome and as a result underwent through more than 20 surgeries. She was a basketball fan and always wore my Marquette jersey, which she said brought her strength and gave her inspiration that she would overcome the disease. Since I was introduced to her, we have developed a very special friendship. I knew that I was meant to be involved in fighting her fight. Besides hosting the Loeys-Dietz Syndrome First Annual Golf Tournament this summer, contributing to the foundation has meant more to me than I ever could have imagined.
I recently again gave back to LDSF after receiving the opportunity to participate in the second annual March Music Madness competition, a bracket-based tournament hosted by Gold's Gym and Men's Health. The competition was designed to find the hottest workout song of 2011, and as a result of my nomination -- LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" -- it won the entire competition. The two brands generously made a donation on my behalf to the LDSF. I'm hoping that with our support, we can help those afflicted with LDSF get through some of their most difficult times.
I continue to give back on and off the court, and I encourage you all to take a few minutes out of your day to do the same, whether it's for the LDSF or any other cause that is close to your heart.
In the end, there's more to those jumpshots than three points...
For more information on how you can support Steve and his efforts, please click here.