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A prince among men

Pistons' Prince offers kids a seat they'll never forget

Posted: Wednesday November 21, 2007 2:19PM; Updated: Wednesday November 21, 2007 2:19PM
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Long famed for his suffocating defense, Tayshaun Prince has expanded his offensive contribution this year to career-high levels.
Long famed for his suffocating defense, Tayshaun Prince has expanded his offensive contribution this year to career-high levels.

The hardwood floor will be a replica of the Detroit Pistons court. There will be a Nintendo Wii and a pop-a-shot basket and 16 tickets for children with cancer and their families. "There is a picture of my hand on the wall," says Tayshaun Prince, the Pistons forward who has made all of this happen, "so they can put their hands up against it to see how big they are."

On Thanksgiving eve Prince will be seeing the redecorated suite at the Palace of Auburn Hills for the first time. He and his wife, Farah, purchased it in order to donate its use to Kids Kicking Cancer, an organization that uses martial arts techniques to empower hundreds of children and help them cope with their illness. "It's pretty amazing," says Cheryl Good, director of operations for the charity headquartered in Detroit. "A month ago we got a call from the Pistons' Palace Foundation letting us know that Tayshaun and Farah were looking at different charities to whom they might donate a custom-made suite."

The children were invited to the Pistons' first two home games while the suite was under construction. Now the renovations are complete and the doors will be flung open. Before the Pistons' play the Knicks Wednesday, the 16 ticketed members of the Kids Kicking Cancer entourage will be invited onto the court to sit on the Pistons bench and watch the players warm up for the game. Upstairs in their red-and-blue suite they will receive T-shirts and thundersticks and eat and drink and play and watch the game. This will be repeated for every Pistons game in Auburn Hills this season, with all of the bills going to Prince and the Meijer department stores, a Pistons' sponsor.

"It makes a tremendous difference for these kids who are undergoing or recovering from treatment," says Good. "These kids are in incredible pain, more pain than we could imagine. We try to empower them physically, spiritually and emotionally, and to have them feel like they're the hero, the superstar walking in there for the game that night, it empowers them to stay strong. It encourages them to just behave like kids; when we took them to a game earlier this month I've never heard so much noise. It was great, and and all they did was scream out Tayshaun's name throughout the entire game."

For Prince this donation is another example of his growth as a leader. Though he is one of the game's most quiet personalities, he has emerged as a tri-captain (with Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton) of one of the league's pillar franchises.

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