Last summer, before ever suiting up for a professional basketball game, Jarrett Allen hosted a back-to-school haircut event in Brooklyn, paying for haircuts for local kids at Levels Barbershop on Fulton Avenue, a roughly 15-minute walk from Barclays Center.
On Thursday, with a year of the NBA behind him, Allen hosted the event for a second consecutive season, this time to a lot more kids and a lot more meaning.
Jarrett Allen (@_bigjayy_) is at Levels Barbershop on Fulton ave getting kids ready for school, buying haircuts and giving out school supplies for the 2nd straight summer. #Nets @NetsDaily pic.twitter.com/ucD78PaDqA— Bryan Fonseca (@BryanFonsecaNY) August 30, 2018
Forty-five children packed inside of Levels, as did media from several news outlets, like Pix 11, ABC, NY1, News 12, Fox 5 and BQE Media along with Ian Begley of ESPN and Mike Mazzeo.
The kids came from two Brooklyn community groups: Children of Promise — dedicated to embracing children of incarcerated parents – and Imagine Me Leadership Charter School – an all-boys Charter School in East New York.
“Personally it just makes me feel happy, giving back,” Allen told NetsDaily, seated in a barber’s chair at Levels, opting to only shape up his legendary fro. “For the community you can tell it’s making an impact, for even just the small impact it’s giving these kids walking out with smiles. Every event I try to make the kids smile as much as possible and try to enjoy it. I’m enjoying it and having fun.”
As Allen has mentioned to us in the past, he’s wanted to be an active member of the community since his name was called as the 22nd overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft. Charity runs in the family, he noted.
“Growing up, me, my brother and my family, we used to work at food banks and hand out food on the weekends,” he said. “We would go to church. We’d always try to give back to the community anyway we can. It just feels right doing it. It just feels like something I need to do and I’m supposed to do. People in the community need this and I don’t mind giving back.
“I learned it from my mom, she learned if from her mom. I don’t know; it’s just how I was raised. Credit to my grandma and grandpa. It’s just how I am,” he added.
Beyond buying each kid a fresh new ‘do prior to the start of classes next week, Allen also gave away a bag of school supplies to each. The Nets-branded bag contained a pencil kit, a Nets cap, Nets headband, trading cards, a notebook, pencil case, a wristband and an additional bag, branded by NBA Cares. Cases of water, Gatorade and boxes of pizza were also distributed throughout the day.
Allen made sure to spend time with the kids as well, talking with them during the four hours they and he were at Levels.
And nothing suggests that Allen just gets it more than what he told the media about his motivation.
“I’m focusing on children of color because you can tell they have disadvantages in the world,” he said particularly referencing the children of incarcerated parents.
As for what’s next in Allen’s community investments, the 20-year-old says he’s not sure, but he does plan on putting together another event around the holidays like he did last year.
“I’m gonna try to do the Thanksgiving event again. That one was fun, the kids enjoyed it, and you know me, just giving back,” he said with a smile.
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