Boston Celtics star point guard Kyrie Irving played his high school basketball at Saint Patrick in Elizabeth, New Jersey. A few years ago, there was speculation that the school was going to be shut down because of financial issues.
Irving made sure that wouldn't happen. The Celtics' best player donated money to the school, paying for a complete renovation of the gym, locker room and weight room:
“Without his support, we wouldn’t be here,” Chris Chavannes, the Patrick School president and head basketball coach told Jay King of The Athletic. We would not be able to make our ends meet if it wasn’t for his support. I've never said that to him. I don’t think he realizes that. We don’t have to ask. He’s always been there for us. But it’s to that degree.”
Irving’s support grew over the years. He sat down with other potential investors and alumni to plot out a way to sustain the school. He covered the funeral expenses for the family of one student who, tragically, collapsed and died. He paid for the tuition of another student with a brain disorder called pseudotumor cerebri, which causes symptoms that mimic those of a brain tumor. Now, Chavannes estimates, Irving subsidizes tuition for more than half of the school’s 128 students.
This is awesome work by Irving, who never forgot where he came from and the people who helped him become one of the top basketball players in the world.
It's ironic that Irving's high school motto is this: “Once a Celtic, always a Celtic.” The Celtics are hoping Irving re-signs with them this summer and spends the rest of his career in Boston.