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Suns’ Devin Booker announces which nonprofits are part of ‘Starting 5’

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the second half of the NBA game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Talking Stick Resort Arena on March 04, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Bucks 114-105. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker has given fans hope on the court.

Now, he’s giving those in need hope and help off the floor.

Booker announced which nonprofit organizations would be part of the “Devin Booker Starting Five,” an initiative through Phoenix Suns Charities in which he will donate $500,000 each year throughout his five-year Suns contract to programs in need.

On Wednesday, the Suns tweeted a video of Booker telling representatives from the five organizations that they will receive the money.

Those organizations are:

  • Special Olympics Arizona
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  • Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center
  • UMOM New Day Centers
  • Ability 360

In the video, Booker invited each of the recipients to Talking Stick Resort Arena under the guise they would be giving their final pitch for the donation.

Instead, at center court, he informed them they had already been selected.

A representative from each organization gave a brief synopsis in the video of how the money will be used.

Special Olympics Arizona is building its own facility. While the first Games were played in Arizona in 1975, there has never been a home just for this group. The money will help build a central location for the coaches and athletes.

This isn’t the first time Booker has interacted with the Special Olympics community. In 2016, he brought 11-year-old Noah Smith to the NBA Draft Lottery with him. Noah competed in multiple sports in the Games.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will use the money for research and support for patients with cancer.

Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center said the money will go toward the SARRC Community School, which helps children with autism develop social communication skills.

UMOM New Day Centers, a program that provides shelter, housing and services for homeless people, will help the program provide services for more people. The representative told Booker that there are 150 families waiting to use the shelters.

Ability 360 is an independent living center for those with disabilities. The program is redoing its gyms to make them easier to use.

In addition to telling the representatives that their organizations would receive the money, Booker presented each group with a Suns jersey. The back has Booker on top, 1 in the middle and “Starting Five” right below the number.

“It’s very important to me when I signed my contract, I wanted to be involved not only with the organization but with the community also,” Booker said in the intro of the video. “A way for me to be more involved in this community is the Booker Starting Five.”

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