Kyle Korver's three-point stroke far exceeds his paintbrush stroke in excellence. But Saturday, he directed his sharp focus to the latter.
Korver returned to Omaha to work with another former Creighton University basketball player, Josh Dotzler, to paint and improve homes in northeast Omaha.
“You want to get behind people where real things are happening,” Korver, a 31-year-old National Basketball Association sharpshooter, said with white paint slopped on both hands. “We want to see real change happen.”
The Dotzler family's Abide Network, which has been around for 23 years, renovates homes in northeast Omaha; provides tutoring, sports and recreation programs; offers employment and training opportunities; and doles out other services.
“We believe if north Omaha gets better, Omaha gets better,” said Josh Dotzler, 26, who many fans remember as a smart, ball-distributing point guard for the Jays.
The activity Saturday brought at least 150 volunteers in addition to Dotzler and Korver. They came from Creighton University, Creighton basketball teams of the past and present, Bridge Church, high schools and elsewhere.
Dotzler said among the former players on hand were Nate Funk, Larry House and Michael Lindeman. Among the current players were Doug McDermott, Will Artino and Josh Jones.
Jones, who will be in his final year as a Bluejay, grew up not far from the area at 33rd and Fowler Streets that underwent cleanup and renovation Saturday. Jones said he grew up in a working-class home in an area that was familiar with gang violence.
“It means a lot to me,” Jones said of the turnout. “It's a positive deal.”
Korver, whose own foundation supports charitable work in the NBA cities he has represented, said he was eager to work with the Dotzler family's faith-based Abide Network. Abide is providing excellent service, he said, “block by block, house by house.”
Korver said the revenue the rest of the year from his “better together” T-shirts will go to Abide Network. “We're really gonna make a push for this,” Korver said.
Dotzler said the goal this day was to paint three houses, gut one for restoration and do cleanup projects in the neighborhood. “It's been really cool to just see people jump on board and get involved in it,” he said.
Just down the block is the Abide Network ministry and outreach center, a huge red-brick building with meeting rooms, offices and recreational space.
Dotzler's parents, Twany and Ron, have raised many of their 14 children there as well. One of their main goals is to fix up houses and sell them cheaply to families that retain ongoing relationships with Abide. Those families become positive forces in the community, Twany Dotzler said.
Throughout the neighborhood, dozens of people worked on houses. In front of the Abide Network center, kids did what brought recognition throughout the region to Korver and Josh Dotzler. They played basketball.
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