In his first year with the Los Angeles Rams, star defensive lineman NDAMUKONG SUH has quickly endeared himself to his teammates and fans with his play on the field and his stewardship in the community.
When he caught word of one of the premier high school football rivalries in the country, known as the East LA Classic between Roosevelt High school and Garfield High School, he decided to dedicate an off-day to visit each school and reveal a special surprise.
"What makes a rivalry is mutual respect but also complete competition," said Suh. "They can bring people together because you can respect them, embrace them, and allow them to remain on the field or wherever they may be. But I think it's important to be a family outside because at the end of the day, we're a community and we have to look out for each other."
On Tuesday, October 23, in partnership with Nike, the Rams participated in a 'Locker Room Takeover' and surprised each school with a refurbished locker room along with brand new head-to-toe gear for each team to wear for the rivalry game. Revealing the new locker rooms and uniforms was Suh, who also recognized each school's head coach as the Rams "Coach of the Week" and presented them a donation grant in support of their football programs.
"I love surprising people and being able to see their reactions," said Suh. "That's when you see true raw emotion. If I can bring joy to other people, give wisdom and guidance, share things that I've gone through or my experience good, bad or different…for somebody else to learn from me is the most important thing in life. I got to where I am from other people doing the same for me so to carry that on means a lot and I hope it means a lot to these kids. When they're successful, hopefully they can come back and give back to their communities and to the places where they grew up."
While the visit was to celebrate the spirit of camaraderie for the 84th edition of East LA Classic, Suh also wanted to make certain that the student-athletes feel rewarded for their hard work and their commitment to the game and their teammates.
"I hope they take away humility and I hope to show them that hard work pays off," said Suh. "At the end of the day, they should know that they've earned respect and people notice that they're working hard for themselves and for their teammates."
As a Coach of the Week honoree, Garfield Head Coach Lorenzo Hernandez believes the partnership between the Rams and Nike amplified the excitement for players for both schools and created a unique way to celebrate the teams, their schools, and the long-standing tradition they share.
"Now that the Rams are back in LA, they've joined efforts with Nike and have been able to put some things together for our kids bringing gear to both of our schools," said Hernandez. "They're really making this game much more exciting, especially with Suh's visit and their contributions to both of our schools and our community. We can't thank them enough."
For more information about the Rams community outreach efforts, please visit therams.com/community.
Check out photos of Ndamukong Suh's surprise at Garfield HS when he donated brand new uniforms prior to the East LA Classic