Clippers Rookies Surprise YMCA Kids with NBA Math Hoops

Rookie life in the NBA can be chock full of extracurricular duties, from hauling luggage on the road to singing “Happy Birthday” to teammates. For Los Angeles Clippers first-years Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson, those responsibilities have come to include spending time as pieces in a life-sized board game.

On Tuesday, the two 2018 NBA draft lottery picks stopped by the Crenshaw Family YMCA in South Los Angeles to serve as avatars in an on-court version of NBA Math Hoops. As competing teams of local students completed math problems, Shai and Jerome stepped onto the floor to take actual shots from the different spots designated on the typical NBA Math Hoops game board.

While Jerome kept his appearance largely low-key, Shai—fresh off his first career start in the Clippers’ 120-109 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves—soaked up the spotlight while draining jumpers in the gym.

“Why he got all the easy shots?” Shai wondered while Jerome dribbled inside the arc for one of his swishes.

Not that the different degrees of difficulty between the two stop Shai at all. The Toronto, Canada native and his squad came out on top. In truth, though, all the kids were winners—as much for hanging out with their sports heroes as for sharpening their math skills.

LA Clippers/Varon Panganiban

Clippers rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson watch as students solve problems in NBA Math Hoops. (Los Angeles Clippers/Varon Panganiban)

Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.