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WEST CHESTER — Teaching young students to stay fit may sometimes result with an in-one-ear-and-out-the-other, but that can be where a professional athlete steps in.
“We preach to them about getting a lot of sleep, eating right and drinking a lot of water,” Covington said. “Those are the main things that we really focus on, too, as a team.”
The program was part of the NBA Fit pledge to get the country, most notably the youth, to drink more water, work out like the pros and swap a snack for a healthier alternative.
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Outside of the annual Fit Week, the NBA encourages the individual teams to go out and do more in its respective community to promote the core values for a healthier life.
The 76ers typically go to five to 10 schools in the Philadelphia region, thanks in part to Independence Blue Cross Foundation.
“They are very young and very active at this age,” Covington said. “In order for them to stay that way, you have to have guys like me and my fellow teammates that they can really look up to come out and show them that we care about them as well and we want them to do well in life. If they see us out here doing well, then they will follow suit.”
The values behind NBA Fit flows seamlessly with what the 76ers teach its own players.
Covington, who has spent two years with the team, has seen the difference it has made with himself.
“The main part is eating right, taking care of your body and drinking a lot of water,” he said. “(In Philly), they are very, very proactive with that. We typically chart everything that we drink as far as practices and games to make sure everyone’s hydration and fitness levels are up to par and we can perform at our highest level.
“I’ve seen a change in my fitness level and the way that I have performed. It really shows what they have focused in on has really helped out.”
The students took part in multiple drills outside, including dribbling, passing a basketball, jump rope and more.
“They have a lot of athletic kids out here,” Covington said. “Everybody is enjoying it, being active and having fun. They are able to understand they are working hard, but are also enjoying it (and) it kind of takes away the whole tired aspect.”
At the end, Covington autographed hats for each of the students.
“I love giving back to the kids because growing up, I didn’t have stuff like this,” he said. “Being able to come out and give to these kids is a big thing for me. I like being a part of stuff like this because it lasts a long time. Memories like this the kids won’t ever forget.”