The Rams joined Earvin "Magic" Johnson, in partnership with Cigna, to host a Holiday Hope Christmas party and surprise local elementary students with new bikes.
"When you grow up in a family of 10 kids… I asked my family for one and they said 'Well, if I buy one, I have to buy ten,'" Magic shared chuckling. "We grew up poor so I couldn't own a bike. A lot of times I had to ride on my friend's handlebars or borrow their bikes. When you see all your friends riding down the street on their bikes and you don't have one, it's an empty feeling, it's a tough feeling. I never want kids to feel what I felt, you know, so I want to make sure that we can give them a bike, let them experience what it is to own their own bike. I think it empowers them."
Last week, Saturday, Dec. 4., Crete Academy students were gifted 400 bikes provided by Target, 300 toys gifted by Mattel and vouchers for a free helmet supplied by local Los Angeles bike shop RIDEWITUS LA. The academy also received a $25,000 donation.
"Our kids are mostly low-income, and many are homeless," explained Hattie Mitchell, Founder of Crete Academy. "Our mission is to serve kids experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty. Many of our kids wouldn't have Christmas or big gifts or new things if it weren't for events like today, so we are really excited. We feel really blessed to be able to do this for our school community."
The surprise bikes were accompanied by a mini-festival with music from a DJ, a full-size train, bounce houses, game trucks, booth games, a snow machine, pictures with Santa, pony rides, a photo booth as well as special appearances from Rams Cheerleaders, Rampage, the Laker Girls and the LA Hoopbus.
"We wanted to come to the heart of the community and this is the heart," said Johnson. "What I really love, too, is the fact that they are going to get so many experiences today… face painters, I see that the Laker Girls have shown up, you know, all the things that they probably say, 'Man, I could never have or never have access to'. See, when you're a minority, you want access to things that you can only see on TV and so today we're providing that access."
Last month, the Rams also supported Johnson's Thanksgiving Holiday Hope event. Rams Cheerleaders, Rampage and staff volunteered to distribute meals to local families at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles.
"I'm happy that since they've moved here, they are making a big impact in our community, both on the field and off the field," Johnson explained when asked about the Rams' support of his efforts. "We're going to partner on a lot of things together and I'm just happy that they believe in giving back to the community like I do. That's really important."
Magic Johnson Enterprises catalyzes community and economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products and services that answer the demands of ethnically diverse urban communities. Through investment, partnership and consultation, Magic Johnson Enterprises has a portfolio of companies that strategically work together to reinforce the organization's focus on serving emerging, multicultural communities. Learn more at
To learn more about the Rams' community efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.