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Inspiring Stories

Six young male special Olympians standing in line celebrating
Photo of Chris Paul event March 2015

NBA All-Star Chris Paul and Special Olympics Athletes Share Commitment, Heart, Drive

Eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul joined Kaiser Permanente in welcoming two Special Olympics basketball teams to a basketball clinic at the Crenshaw Family YMCA in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 21.

The athletes — members of the Special Olympics Southern California Lakewood teams — had an opportunity to run drills, scrimmage and learn from one of the best players in the NBA. Afterwards, Paul conducted a question-and-answer session with the athletes and provided each one with a signed basketball as a remembrance of the day and the time they spent with an outstanding athlete and role model.

"Being an athlete takes hard work, dedication, and the passion to push yourself beyond your comfort zone," said Paul, NBA All-Star and Kaiser Permanente total health ambassador. "These Special Olympics athletes push through barriers every day to accomplish their goals. Their positive spirit and determination are inspiring and why I am so honored to be working side-by-side with them. When you get down to it, we each have lessons to learn from one another."

Paul also reinforced the importance of staying healthy and living an active lifestyle while building excitement for the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015, which will be held July 25 - August 2.

Kaiser Permanente is a Founding Champion and the Official Health Partner for the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015. Hundreds of physicians and staff will be providing care to the 7,000 athletes participating in the World Games. The Games will be the biggest international sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world this year and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.

"Our physician and staff volunteers are enthusiastically preparing to welcome and provide medical care for these inspiring athletes. I'm very proud of the response from our doctors, nurses and employees who have stepped forward to volunteer with the intent of making this one of the most successful and memorable Special Olympics ever," said Edward M. Ellison, MD, executive medical director for Southern California Permanente Medical Group, and member of the Special Olympics LA 2015 board of directors. "We are excited and looking forward to meeting the athletes and sharing wonderful and profound memories of these games, not only with them, but with the entire Special Olympics family."

"Kaiser Permanente has been a fantastic partner in helping build awareness for our event and mission. They stepped up and provided us with a World Games-themed Rose Parade float and now, because of their relationship with Chris Paul, they are able to give our athletes this once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Patrick McClenahan, president and CEO of LA2015. "Our two organizations are aligned in many of our core values from embracing diversity and inclusion to strengthening the health of our communities. We are proud to have them as our official Health Partner for the World Games."

In addition to their support of the Special Olympics World Games, Kaiser Permanente and the National Basketball Association earlier this year announced a strategic partnership that focuses on building healthier communities. The collaboration is an extension of both organizations' shared commitment to improving the health and wellness of fans and the communities in which they live. This marks a new and unique partnership for both organizations; as part of the relationship, Kaiser Permanente serves as health care expert and consultant for the NBA.