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Holiday Round Up

The holiday spirit is in the air, so we wanted to take a quick trip through the sports world to see who is dressing for holiday success, who is showing some spirited generosity, and maybe hand out an imaginary gift or two along the way. 

Much respect and appreciation to Russell Westbrook, who recently paid a hospital visit to one one of his biggest fans, a young man named Janneh who was injured by a
stray bullet in a shooting earlier this year. The incident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Westbrook stopped by to visit for about 30 minutes to help raise the young man's spirits. A shout out is also in order to the folks at NBA reddit, who helped to spread the story and raise money for Janneh and his family. You can read more about Janneh (and donate) here

Westbrook also made headlines for a large, unspecified donation to his alma mater, UCLA. Officials said it was the largest such gift ever given by a former basketball player to the university. For a man who plays with furious intensity on the basketball court, it's nice to see he has a soft spot, or at least a generous one. (Dude is like no percent body fat.)

New York Giants star Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. started out his football Sunday in the spirit of things with these snazzy Christmas sneaks, but turned into a Grinch pretty quickly when opposing defender Josh Norman of the Panthers seemed to take up residence in Beckham's head, and ODB responded with a vicious, suspension-worthy, head to head hit. Then again, when it comes to hits like that, 'tis definitely better to give than it is to receive. 

Reports later in the week suggested that some members of the Panthers team were intentionally trying to intimidate Beckham by swinging bats and looking at him before the game. Nevertheless, Beckham was the only player to be suspended. Barring appeals, he'll have Christmas week off, no doubt with dreams of a playoff spot dancing in his head. 

Also in the NFL, Titans Linebacker Brian Orakpo showed you can be festive and serious at the same time, managing to make an otherwise jolly suit seem downright...intimidating. That's talent right there. 

In the National Basketball Association, the Golden State Warriors are currently steamrolling through the league with a single loss to their names. What to get the team that has everything? The best Christmas gift they could receive would be a few more losses. I mean humility is a virtue, right?  That's one gift Lebron and Company will certainly be trying to deliver during the Cavaliers and Warriors showdown on the 25th. Until then, they'll be singing joyous carols like this one: 

Speaking of Mr. James, here he is with Special Olympic MVP Aaron Miller at the Cavaliers game in Boston earlier this month. Lebron made some time during the game
for the sixteen year old Celtics fan, then finished it off by handing over his game shoes to the young man. It's easy to be cynical about athletes' charitable photo opportunities, but it's not so easy to be cynical about the expression on Aaron Miller's face. Merry Christmas, indeed. 

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