After being named the NBA's "Coach of the Month" twice this season, we know Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Lionel Hollins can draw up a terrific game plan.
But, as a youngster it was by developing his reading skills which opened the doors of his mind to all of life's possibilities for success.
"For me a lot of my hopes and dreams came from reading and seeing how other cultures live," he said. "How the people live and saw that there was far more than what was going on in my own community which gave me hope and vision to move on."
It was Hollins and his wife Angie's desire to help the grief-stricken community of Newton, Conn., to move past the tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on Dec. 14.
So, in true teamwork fashion, Lionel Hollins Charities organization, along with Shelby County Books from Birth, will be donating 300 books to Sandy Hook survivors. In a world seemingly gone mad, Hollins hopes the gift of books can provide an avenue of solace for children in search of the way back to normalcy.
"This is an opportunity to get them to be able to get away from things that are going on and on in their minds," Hollins said. "Because I know when I'm reading, I'm lost in the book and the story that's going on."
"Books are so much more than just something to provide a child with to make them literate," added Kim Macqueen, Books from Birth chairwoman. "It changes their lives."
Hollins' outreach to survivors of Sandy Hook comes just hours after the Grizzlies organization honored the memory of fallen Memphis Police officer Martoiya Lang, by collecting $20,000 to donate to Lang's four daughters. Both gestures are reflective of how the depth of some tragedies, especially those where children are victimized, can have a reverberating effect far beyond where they take place.
"Obviously with the tragedy that happened, any good thing that you can do for them is accepted right now," said Rudy Gay, Grizzlies small forward. "I couldn't imagine being in a classroom that young and seeing something like that."
"This is bigger than sports," Hollins added. "This is real life. This is people have died. There are people who are heroes in helping to save kids. The kids that died. It's the scars that are left on the people that are surviving here move on. Time heals all wounds and I just want to be a part of doing something that takes a little of the string away."
Even off the court, Hollins, has a knack for creating solid game plans.