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Former NBA Star Keith Van Horn Helps Special Ed Kids Play Ball In Evergreen

By Alan Gionet

EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4) - Former NBA player Keith Van Horn had a ball. So did the kids of the Evergreen Parks and Rec Special Population Program. It's was the fourth year of the Premier/Special Olympics Showcase with the Evergreen Park and Recreation District.

The big game took place at the Wulf Rec Center Sunday as the Broncos and Steelers played a widely watched playoff game. But at the rec center, you'd never know it.

Special Olympics Game I
(credit: Cheryl Newhall)
Special Olympics Game
(credit: Cheryl Newhall)

The Special Olympians were taught new drills and skills by Van Horn and his staff. Then they had a fun and competitive Unified game with the Premier U16 Girls Nike Basketball Club.

The participants loved the talented girls who helped them play. The team got a lot out of it as well. Martha Biasi, one of the Hero recipients wrote in an email, "That was such a nice event ... it always warms my heart to be a part of it."

Special Olympian Wyatt Bunch said, "I love the banner, my name being called, and I played good defense."

Special Olympics Game
(credit: Cheryl Newhall)
Special Olympics Game
(credit: Cheryl Newhall)

Grace Arnold, a 16-year-old participant had tears of joy after the event, saying that the event was the "best day ever!"

Van Horn was drafted second overall in the 1997 NBA draft and played for New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York, Milwaukee and Dallas during his career. He now makes his home in Evergreen and has become a big help in the community.

Alex Teleaga ate up the attention. He loved running through the banner and hearing his name introduced before the game and also hearing his name after he would make a shot.

Special Olympics Game
(credit: Cheryl Newhall)

Evan Torriani stayed focused for the entire event, dribbling and shooting on court and giving Van Horn hugs when he was on the bench. Hugs for former pro gave right back.

The score was tied in the end 30-30.

No one missed the Broncos game.

Alan Gionet is anchor of the CBS4 Morning News and reports on a wide variety of issues and "Good Question" stories. He started at CBS4 in 1994. Follow Alan on Twitter @AlanGTV.

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