Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson explains why Utah holds a place in his heart as he passes out 200 meals

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WEST VALLEY CITY — LeBron Kamoto was making an attempt to course of what had simply occurred.

He walked into a college gymnasium and met Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson. He took a image with him, too. Those sorts of issues do not typically occur to children in West Valley City.

He was then handed a sharpie and was advised to go ask the Jazz star for an autograph.

No, that was an excessive amount of, LeBron advised his mom, Oliana. He felt Clarkson had already taken the time to take a image, and he could not ask for extra. After some prodding, the shy child went again as much as one among his Jazz heroes, and Clarkson shortly and fortunately signed a image for him.

“That was loopy,” LeBron stated, beaming. “I’m about to shake.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Clarkson and his household made their technique to Valley JUnion High handy out 200 Thanksgiving dinners to native households. Each household made their method across the college’s gymnasium to get every part they wanted — stuffing, potatoes, mac and cheese, pumpkin pie, yams, and many others. — from stations manned by Clarkson’s relations and mates.

When they bought to the top, Clarkson was ready for them with a turkey and a vivid smile.

For LeBron Kamoto, the expertise was a dream. For Oliana, it was a blessing.

“It’s gonna do a lot,” she stated. “There’s a lot of individuals which were in arduous instances, and this has been superior.”

That’s precisely why Clarkson placed on the occasion.

“I do know immediately is one thing that they are going to bear in mind,” Clarkson stated. “Being capable of eat Thanksgiving meals, spending time with us, no matter it’s. I do know it means a lot; it means a lot to us. That’s why we do it. We simply proceed to try to share pleasure and love.”

Clarkson bought an help from a teammate, too. Jarred Vanderbilt wasn’t initially scheduled to return to Valley Junior High, however when he discovered out what was happening, he determined to swing by.

“I’m large on giving again,” he stated. “Anytime I could be a a part of one thing like this and simply assist out and be current, (I wish to do it). … Having them have a smile on their face places a smile on my face.”

For Vanderbilt, Tuesday hit a little near residence, too. He grew up in a low-income residence in a low-income a part of Houston. He is aware of how arduous issues could be in the course of the holidays.

“I really feel like everybody deserves to have a good Thanksgiving meal, whatever the circumstances that you just’re in,” he stated. “Part of (the accountability) of being in the place that we’re in is to do our half.”

Along with serving to in Clarkson’s occasion, Vanderbilt may even present Thanksgiving meals for 5 households on the Neighborhood House in Salt Lake City. Elsewhere, Jazz level guard Collin Sexton will serve a meal offered by Catholic Community Services to roughly 200 individuals on the Women’s Resource Center.

“It warms all people’s heart,” Clarkson stated. “As lengthy as we’re all right here, it is a neighborhood.”

That neighborhood is one Clarkson is blissful to be a a part of. As all of the offseason strikes occurred round him, Clarkson was blissful to stay in Utah — even when the group wasn’t anticipated to be as aggressive as they’ve confirmed to be.


“The method they embraced me since I bought right here,” he stated. “They’ve proven love since I’ve been right here. Whatever different individuals say about it — opposing groups and opposing followers — it is method totally different.

“For us, it is a lot of individuals coming collectively. Of course, there are dangerous spots or no matter, however all in all, I believe, it has been embracing. With every part that is gone on over the previous few years, individuals have come collectively, and it has been a nice expertise. I adore it right here, and it will all the time have a place in my heart.”

After Tuesday, a couple hundred households can have a particular place in their hearts for him, as nicely.


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Ryan Miller has lined the Utah Jazz for KSL.com since 2018.

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