San Diego Kansas University’s basketball players truly love the “Santa’s Helpers” program that brings them to Wal-Mart every year for a shopping excursion to benefit area families, whose names are provided by Salvation Army.
As proof ... at least three Jayhawks continued to share the wealth in similar fashion once they started making money in the pro ranks.
• Former KU center Sasha Kaun, who attended KU for four years, actually took part in five Santa’s Helpers outings.
Images from the Jayhawks' game against the Aztecs at Viejas Arena in San Diego, California.
Kaun, who graduated from KU in 2008, returned to Lawrence from Russia while rehabbing from knee surgery in December 2010 and joined the Jayhawks for the shopping excursion with his wife, Taylor.
“Thanks for helping us out,” Self told Kaun at the time.
• In 2011, NBA player Cole Aldrich purchased $1,000 of school supplies for Lawrence youths in an August event at Wal-Mart.
Aldrich walked around the store and assisted local students as they placed school supplies in their carts, Aldrich paying for the goods.
• Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings last year in Sacramento surprised 10 children two weeks before Christmas with a shopping spree at Wal-Mart, pretty similar to the one he took part in twice in Lawrence.
McLemore last year received the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his charitable contributions to society.
According to the NBA, the award honors a “player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities.”
“When I was growing up, my family didn’t have much, so it’s always been extremely important for me to give back and help wherever I can,” McLemore said. “To have the opportunity to be a role model for young kids is an honor that I take very seriously, and I'm just blessed to be in this position to help.”
— See what people were saying about Kansas at San Diego State during KUsports.com’s live blog