NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Kids in New Orleans East were thrilled to get to shoot some hoops with an NBA champ today, and they also got to kick some soccer balls with a two-time gold medalist soccer star.

WGNO’s Kenny Lopez reports that former New Orleans Pelicans and current Milwaukee Bucks player, Jrue Holiday and his similarly-accomplished wife, Lauren Holiday joined the kids from “Excite All-Stars” in New Orleans East in hopes of using sports to make a difference in these kids’ lives.

“I just came here to talk to the kids and show them some of my experiences and give back,” Jrue Holiday explained.

The guard and Milwaukee Bucks won the 2021 NBA Championship.

Two-time gold medalist Lauren Holiday returned home to New Orleans to show these kids just how much they believe in them.

“I guess to never give up in whatever they do even if it is not in sports,” Jrue Holiday added.

“I think New Orleans will always hold a special place in our hearts, even just getting off the plane it feels like home here,” explained Lauren Holiday.

The kids who are a part of the New Orleans-based non-profit, “Excite All-Stars” which provides enrichment sports, activities, and leadership opportunities to kids in our community.

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“I think that it is imperative that the children of New Orleans have a space where they can be themselves and explore all the different possibilities,” Katelyn Martin, Excite All-Stars Ambassador said.

In a time when crime is spiking, especially in New Orleans East, for these sports stars, now is the time to invest in these kids’ futures.

“Kids all over are misguided right now and just being a positive influence and showing up for them, showing them they matter and their lives are important is huge,” Jrue Holiday said.

“It makes me feel really good that there are people out there who care about us so much that they take time out of their day to come and help us grow up to be good people,” 11-year-old Ryan Metoyer at Excite All-Stars said.

Jrue Holiday said, “I think to me this is how I grew up playing sports, it taught me a lot about life, competition, making friends, and I still do it today.”

New Orleans East community activists say what the Holidays are doing really scores!

“Well with the recent spike in crime it definitely gives the kids an outlet to use their energy positively in the community,” Anthony Jackson Jr., President of the Police Community Advisory Board said.

Excite All-Stars started in 2008 and they serve between 750 and 1,000 kids year-round.