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Video gaming and basketball come to JBLM

Hoops for Troops joins NBA, PlayStation in nationwide military tour

Ryan Anderson, a basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans, challenges a soldier at a game during the Hoops for Troops visit to Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, California. Photo courtesy of PlayStation

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On June 11 and 12, active-duty servicemembers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be treated to a unique experience made possible by the NBA, PlayStation and USO Northwest.

JBLM will be the seventh military base visited this year by Hoops for Troops, a two-day program that offers opportunities for military servicemembers to play the newest video games released by PlayStation along with video game giveaways, a video game tournament and a basketball clinic for youth. The event culminates in a dinner barbecue for single soldiers presented by USO Northwest volunteers.

"(The USO Northwest) mission is to raise the spirits of America's military and their family members, so this event falls right in line with that," said Don Leingang, executive director of USO Northwest. "If they're looking for something Thursday and Friday night, the entertainment will be right there at the Warrior Zone."

From 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on June 11 and 12, the PlayStation video game trailer, which will be located in the parking lot outside the Warrior Zone, will be open to all ages. From 5 to 8 p.m. on those days, the trailer will be open exclusively to military servicemembers. A gaming tournament will be held all day June 12 in the PlayStation trailer. The first 50 participants will receive a free NBA T-shirt.

According to Matt Perez, a PlayStation spokesman, the video game trailer is an 18-wheel semi that includes 22 gaming consoles.

"It's a chance for the soldiers and their family members to try out the games and see what PlayStation is producing," Leingang said. "Soldiers will be able to play around."

On June 12, children of military servicemembers already enrolled in Youth Services at JBLM will be taught drills and basketball techniques in a basketball clinic led by former Seattle SuperSonics player, coach and NBA Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens.

Rick Randall, chief of community recreation at JBLM, said this will be a great opportunity for children to meet an NBA legend.

Later that evening during the barbecue, Wilkens will meet and greet with the military.

"We would like to get 750 to 1,000 soldiers at the Friday night barbecue," Leingang said. "The barbecue is free, and USO volunteers will be there to serve hot dogs and hamburgers."

PlayStation said it's proud to be visiting military bases.

"PlayStation gamers are supporters of our military and the sacrifice that these true heroes have provided to all of us," said John Koller, vice president of marketing for PlayStation.

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