Before assistant general manager Tom Penn was helping the Trail Blazers orchestrate trades to acquire the likes of Rudy Fernandez, Jerryd Bayless and Nicolas Batum, he was cutting his front office teeth with the Memphis Grizzlies. While living in the River City, Penn developed a relationship with the St. Jude's Children's Hospital, a internationally recognized facility known for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Penn has not only continued his work with St. Jude's during his time in Portland, but he has also brought the Trail Blazers organization into the fold by continuing to work on behalf of St. Jude's to ensure that no child is ever denied treatment because of a family’s inability to pay as St. Jude's covers all costs not covered by insurance for medical treatment rendered at the hospital. Causes don't get much more altruistic than that.
You can get involved in helping St. Jude's provide world-class cancer treatment to children by placing a bid on a signed rookie jersey during the Rookie Relief Auction. The Rookie Relief for St. Jude auction was created out of the partnership between the NBA Summer League and St. Jude. The auction will be the cornerstone of annual fundraising program featuring top NBA rookies. The official announcement of the partnership was made during the NBA Summer League’s Tip-Off Reception on July 10 at the Platinum Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas.
Many of the players Penn helped to bring to Portland, including Greg Oden, Rudy Ferandez, Jerryd Bayless and Nicolas Batum have donated signed jerseys which are currently being auctioned off via EBay with the proceeds going to ensure St. Jude's can continue to provide the same level of care and research that have already helped so many. Martell Webster also donated a signed pair of shoes to the cause.
The auction has already begun and runs through November 20. Go here to bid on Greg Oden's signed jersey, here to bid on Bayless' jersey, here to bid on the Fernandez jersey, here to bid on Batum's and here to bid on Webster's shoes. It's a great way to pick up some one-of-a-kind Trail Blazers gear while also helping out a worthy cause.
And I usually wouldn't recommend buying the jersey of a non-Trail Blazer, but since the money is going to a great organization, consider perusing and purchasing a jersey of one of any number of 2008 rookies. For all of you Lake Oswego fans out there, Kevin Love's jersey is up to auction, and the Oregon native has agreed to match the donations made during the auction up to $12,500. That's a great assist from the local boy.