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NBA players visit Al Udeid

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Noah D. Coger
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Former NBA players Tracy McGrady and Jalen Rose visited service members at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, for Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2021.

The two came out to meet and have lunch with deployed members, as well as tour some of the base’s facilities before signing autographs for service members.

“It was great to get the opportunity to interact with some new friends,” said McGrady. “Especially on Veterans Day, and having the opportunity to interact with everyone and getting to say thank you for their service and their sacrifice and everything they do. We appreciated this trip.”

It was also an opportunity for service members to take a break from their day-to-day operations and enjoy their Veterans Day, and put their basketball skills to the test against the former players.

“It was an experience of a life time,” said Isaiah Stuart, a contractor for U.S. Central Command. “I had the chance to outshoot Tracy McGrady. I came up short but he’s lucky they had to move on because I definitely would’ve had him in the second round. But I really appreciate all the love they are showing us out here.”

The players also fielded questions and provided personal experiences on leadership and teamwork.

“It was great to be a part of it and ask them how they handled their hard times, like being away from family while playing and how they balanced those things,” said Staff Sgt. Lawrence Scollo, 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron unit deployment manager. “By learning how they balanced those things, I think it’ll help me while I’m out here.”

Al Udeid Air Base is the largest expeditionary base in the world with 8,000 military personnel and visits like this help deployed service members stay connected to home as well as boost morale.

“It’s been a life-changing experience to be able to spend time with our troops,” said Rose. “I’m really grateful to be here with them and for their service. To be able to answer questions, and talk about leadership and teamwork, and be in the gym and shoot some jump shots and laugh and crack jokes, it’s refreshing. It’s an honor to be here, especially on Veterans Day.”