The Golden State Warriors might have four All-Stars on the roster in Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. They might have one of the NBA’s best coaches too in Steve Kerr. But there was no question who the most valuable person employed by the team was on Friday.
The title belonged to Champ Pederson, the older brother of Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson.
Champ, who was born with Down syndrome, has spent the past few months working as a part-time finance assistant. It’s a pretty cool gig considering the Pederson brothers grew up in Palo Alto and have been following Bay Area sports their entire lives.
On Friday though, the Warriors managed to make it even better by expanding Champ’s responsibilities as they hosted Special Needs Family Appreciation Night during their game against the Sacramento Kings. Not only was Champ invited to announce the Warriors starting lineup to the crowd at Oracle Arena. He also helped Steve Kerr handle the media during his pregame presser.
Amazing, sweet moment as Steve Kerr brings up Champ Pederson on @Warriors special needs night to help w/pregame media before he does starting lineups. Champ is 30, works part-time as W’s finance assistant since last fall. Big brother of @Dodgers Joc Pederson (@yungjoc650). pic.twitter.com/SYHgDI5J1m
— Janie McCauley (@JanieMcCAP) March 17, 2018
To the surprise of no one, Champ stepped up to the plate and knocked both assignments out of the ballpark.
Joc Pederson has frequently talked about how Champ has inspired him during his baseball career. Champ has quickly become a favorite around the Dodgers clubhouse. In the last two years Champ has thrown out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium, served as the Dodgers bat boy in San Francisco, and he’s even gotten a hug from Yasiel Puig after one of his home runs.
“It’s just being around him — how happy and passionate he is, his positive attitude and outlook on life” Joc told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2015.
It seems Champ is held in the same esteem and has made the same impact on the Warriors. Even though they lost to the Kings 98-93, they did him proud by battling hard despite three of the previously mentioned all-stars being out with injuries.
Win or lose though, nothing can beat the experience Champ had or the experience Steve Kerr and Warriors fans enjoyed with him.
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