Ohio native Larry Nance Jr. came up with an initiative to help local businesses struggling due to the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Larry Nance Jr. announced a plan to help local businesses that are struggling economically in the Cleveland and Akron areas. The season opener on Wednesday not only saw a win for the Cavaliers, it also kicked off Nance’s season of giving.
“Locally owned businesses are some of the pillars of our communities,” he wrote on Dec. 16. “They have been, and still are being hit hard by this pandemic. In an effort to bring some extra support to them I need your help!”
He asked fans to send him apparel from their favorite local businesses so he could wear it during games and make social media posts to shine a spotlight on them. He is also committing to selling his game-worn jersey after each game and match the profit from that sale, then donate 100% of it to whatever business he was highlighting that specific night. The apparel received will then be donated to homeless shelters in the area.
— Larry Nance Jr (@Larrydn22) December 16, 2020
Nance said he would do his best to represent all the businesses from the packages he receives but will make sure to first focus on the ones who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.
The first business chosen was The Grog Shop, a family owned venue space known for hosting live music. It’s been around for 28 years, but it has been closed for most of 2020 because of COVID-19.
Game 1 – @thegrogshop
— Larry Nance Jr (@Larrydn22) December 23, 2020
“This humble little baby rock club we all pour our whole hearts into… I think this is the best we have felt since March 12th. Forever grateful.” The Grog Shop wrote on Twitter.
While Nance got the initiative started, others already jumped in to contribute. On Wednesday, Nance said the Cavaliers organization will also be matching the funds raised by the jerseys.
Mill Supply Inc., a local auto body parts supplier, also offered help. John A. Shega, the Vice President of the company, wrote to Nance to tell him his company wanted to contribute with $5,000 divided among the jerseys auctioned.
“Our small business has been blessed this year… I know there are so many small businesses that are not in this situation and I want to help them as well,” read Shega’s letter.
Cleveland helping Cleveland. 🤝
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 23, 2020
Nance’s local connection is more than just wearing the Cleveland jersey. His father, Larry Nance Sr., spent part of his NBA career playing for the Cavaliers (1988-94). Nance Jr. was born in Akron, Ohio and attended Revere High School before his college career in Wyoming.
He played for the Wyoming Cowboys from 2011-15. During his senior year, Nance helped his team win the Mountain West tournament title and take the Pokes dancing for the first time since the 2001-02 season. Nance was selected the 27th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2018, he returned to his home state after being traded to Cleveland.
Next up, Nance will choose another business to represent on Saturday, Nov. 26, when the Cavs take on the Detroit Pistons on the road.