By CHRIS WILSON
They didn’t come in bright yellow trench coats or oversized ranger hats. These “fun police” rode into West Jordan on a 68,000 pound, semi-truck to visit a Terra Linda Elementary fifth-grader Thursday morning.
Chad Beagley, an 11-year-old student from West Jordan, won a visit from the NBA Jam Van by entering the NBA Jam Van Sweepstakes.
The sweepstakes is part of the Adidas Three Point Goals program which encourages students to “DARE” to do their best in school; “CARE” about their health; and “SHARE” themselves with the community.
To enter the sweepstakes students had to set goals for improvement in each of the three categories.
Students in more than 25,000 classrooms across the Western United States entered the contest hoping to win the grand prize — a visit from the Jam Van and Celtic’s point guard Tyus Edney.
Beagley, the only one to fill out an entry form in his class, said he won the random drawing much to his amazement.
Beagley’s teacher, Susan Holtkamp, broke the news to her unsuspecting student during class. She said that his first reaction was shock that later grew into excitement.
“He had a smile on his face that you just can’t erase,” Holtkamp said.
The NBA Jam Van, much like a Transformer, changes from a seemingly harmless 18-wheeler into 4,000 feet of basketball related entertainment.
The trailer unfolds to expose a number of outdoor basketball courts. Each court is geared toward a specific basketball skill.
Free-throws can be practiced at one court, three-pointers on another. Aspiring Michael Jordans can sky to the rim at the dunk area that has three baskets at 7, 8 and 9 feet.
Inside the Jam Van trailer, an interactive area allows fans to compare their height, armspan, shoe size and hand size to NBA players.
A giant video wall housing NBA video games and televisions, shows footage from past games. It is packed among the interactive area and various memorabilia exhibits inside the semi’s trailer.
“I like working with kids and I like working with people in general,” said DaJuan Eubanks, a former Harlem Globetrotter and tour manager for the NBA Jam Van.
He said the best thing about the NBA Jam Van is that everything is free.
“People can come out and have a good time courtesy of the NBA,” he said.
Edney, point guard of the 1995 NCAA champion UCLA Bruins, taught Beagley’s class basketball fundamentals and talked to them about setting goals.
He said he enjoys spending time with kids and helping them realize that they can achieve their goals.
“I think that as NBA players these are things that we can do to help the community,” Edney said.
Along with the visit from the Jam Van, Beagley, his teacher and all of his classmates were presented with a free pair of basketball shoes, a t-shirt, a basketball and a $400 gift certificate for scholastic products.
“They were excited as soon as they got their shoes,” Edney said. “I remember at that age, that’s what I always did when I got new shoes. They were really excited about getting that and excited to be out here today.”
While television’s Fun Police continue their hunt for “whistle-happy refs”, the real-life NBA Jam Van will continue its tour of the country, stopping next at The Sports Authority in Tacoma, Wash. on June 19.