Okafor helps debut Chevron Mathmobile
POSTED: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 9:04am
New Orleans, La — Throughout his decorated basketball career, which includes an NCAA title at Connecticut and eight NBA seasons, 50 has been a number closely identified with Emeka Okafor. It’s the number on his New Orleans Hornets jersey, as well as part of his Twitter handle (@BigMek50). But it’s just one of many numerals media and fans use to describe Okafor as a basketball player. There are the 306 consecutive games the 6-foot-10 center played over a four-year period. There are his impressive career averages of 10.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
As the 29-year-old pointed out on Thursday, March 1 at Miller Wall Elementary, numbers and mathematics are a significant part of an athlete’s day-to-day existence.
“Math is very useful and numbers are all around you,” Okafor explained to kids at the grade school in Marrero on the Westbank. “I majored in finance in college, partly because I thought knowing how to use numbers would prove very beneficial in my adult life. As an athlete, nutrition is also very important. You have to be able to count your calorie intake, carbohydrates and proteins, as well as how much water you’re drinking.”
Okafor delivered his message to youngsters prior to the afternoon’s official debut of the Hornets’ brand-new Mathmobile. Presented by Chevron, the Mathmobile is an interactive bus that will travel the state of Louisiana distributing math and science books to children of all ages. Students at Miller Wall Elementary were given the opportunity to pick up a free educational book, as well as utilize the Mathmobile’s iPads. The iPads focus on math skills such as addition, subtraction, fractions and geometry.
The group of about 50 kids was also given free tickets by Chevron to the Hornets’ March 3 home game against the Indiana Pacers in the New Orleans Arena, where numbers are omnipresent throughout the building.
Just before a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the Mathmobile, Okafor surprised the children by announcing that they’d be special guests in the Hive 48 hours later.
“I heard that there was a good group of kids who are good in math and are having fun in school,” Okafor said of Miller Wall Elementary’s pupils. “I thought what better place to learn about numbers than at a game? In the arena, there are numbers all around you. Jerseys have numbers, the scoreboard has numbers. Learning how to use math and apply it in a technological environment will help you guys very much (in the future).”