He Never Was a Bad Boy: While Kids Are Away, NBA Great Bob Lanier Paints a Dallas School

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Leslie Minora
Bob Lanier (right) works his extreme-school-makeover magic in West Dallas.
An oddly interesting scene unfolded on Inwood Road earlier today: NBA legend Bob Lanier and Key Coker, Executive Vice President of BBVA Compass Bank, chatting about banking globalization, financial diversification and the tightening of government regulations as they painted the walls of a Thomas J. Rusk Middle School classroom.

Lanier was in town as part of a partnership between the NBA and the bank to help clean up several of the nation's schools in need of rejuvenation. Former Dallas Mavericks Sam Perkins and Derek Harper and journeyman baller Felipe Lopez also volunteered their time, along with Tiffany Jackson, WNBA star and a Dallas native.

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Bob Lainer, Sam Perkins and Tiffany Jackson on stage at the kick-off of today's event.

Thomas J. Rusk was the fifth of six schools to reap the benefits of the program, which provides $200,000 worth of renovations and an afternoon of manpower to put the improvements in place. It's essentially a four-hour blitz of painting, organizing and landscaping.

The event happened while the students were away on a field trip; they'll return tomorrow to a freshly spruced up school and tales of giant helpers doing the clandestine clean-up work.

Lanier, an ambassador for NBA Cares who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, kicked off the event in the school's auditorium, pumping up about 80 volunteers. He told Unfair Park he's been volunteering since he was a kid.

"[My volunteering] started with my mother getting me involved with the church -- and mentoring kids when I got into high school," Lanier said. "It's in my DNA."

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