Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston scored 10 points in Oakland’s 103-90 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday, but what’s missing from the stat sheets are the points he scored off the court – in the hearts of a dozen kids from Oakland who belong to the Original Scraper Bike Team.
The group combines art with ingenuity — all with the goal of helping keep kids out of trouble. And Livingston is a fan.
For most of the kids, Thursday was their first time seeing a Warriors game in person. They have Livingston to thank for it – he was the one who contacted them and set the plan in motion.
“I work at the Oakland Public Library, so he emailed some of the administration at the library and they told me,” said Original Scraper Bike's President Reggie Burnett. “And I was like, ‘Oh, for sure!’ We were stoked to go and overly excited to be here."
To that, Livingston added: “How many times are they really going to get to go? Kids from the inner community [don’t] get a chance to go to a professional game of any sorts. They don't have that type of funding – that type of [opportunity.]"
Tyrone Stevenson is the mastermind and creator of the Original Scrapers.
"It's a blessing to be able to bring them here through this experience. Thank you, Shaun," he said.
The team has been riding strong for 10 years now, Stevenson said. It was inspired by the hyphy or hyperactive movement that traces its roots to Oakland-based rapper Keak da Sneak.
“We wanted to mimic the cars that rolled around in our neighborhood, and so we got aluminum foil tape, spray paint, customized it out, pimped it out, made it look like an actual car and we've been riding ever since,” he said.
But, Stevenson said, it’s really the kids who are “fixing the bikes and decorating the bikes and teaching their peers. We're just there to support them. Keep them involved.”
Meanwhile, Livingston, who recalled riding his bike everywhere when he was younger, said that he shares the group’s passion.
"They're making a positive difference with the youth, trying to keep kids off the street, give them something to do,” he said. “That's what it's about."