The Dahntay Jones Foundation is a project that I knew would be something important. I try every year to bring Christmas spirit to those who are in dire need of it. That’s why on December 23, 2009, I took it upon myself to organize a benefit toy drive that would benefit children at Riley Children's Hospital. This project gives me a chance to exercise my celebrity to benefit others for a change and give back to the community in a positive manor. It is a privilege and a blessing to be able to play in the NBA and I have a lot to be thankful for. These kids may not live to be adults or may be way too sick to enjoy their childhood. Christmas isn’t necessarily about the material things, but to know that their wishes could be fulfilled is something that is well worth the time and effort.
This is my forth team in seven seasons and all my stops I try to give back to the community. NBA cares urges all the players to get involved and give back to the community, which makes us important figures and role models. Our sport is attributed to the fans that support us. None of us would be able to make the type of money we make without the fans who come out to the games, purchasing season tickets, buying jerseys, voting for the all-star games and purchasing video games to simulate their favorite teams and players. I actually enjoy seeing the looks on their faces when me and other players walk into the room fill with toys and games for these children. Whether it’s reading stories or playing games, anything to instill some Christmas spirit into these children.
You would think that these kids would be down and out because of their illnesses and conditions, but their spirits are high and full of energy and enthusiasm. I don’t know if they realize the importance of their state or that they have accepted it and just want to live life. I hope that I can stay in Indiana and hopefully keep this foundation going for a while out here. Indiana can be a home for me hopefully. I just want to do everything in my power to help this team win on the court. And off the court I would like to influence my community to do more to help others. Selfless acts are usually the most rewarding. Most of my teammates are millionaires and that’s a blessing in itself because a lot of people don’t see that much money in a lifetime. We are making it in a season’s work and we must be grateful the opportunity that this league has presented us with. Being from Trenton, New Jersey, I saw a lot of things that opened up my eyes. I knew that if I made it to the NBA, the first thing I would help others. And helping others has been a part of my NBA career along with trying to help the team win. This toy drive was just another segment of me doing my selfless act to help others.
-Dahntay JonesIndiana Pacers