Andrea Solomon knew she had to wait for her son Ethan to come home before she opened what had just arrived in the mail for him. Inside the envelope sat a letter penned from the youngster's favorite NBA player after all.
The Solomon family, which consists of three kids, went through a difficult time recently. Sadly, Ethan's father passed away from cancer. So Ethan did not have his dad there with him at his Bar Mitzvah. Through a mutual friend, Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi heard the story and signed a jersey for Ethan. But Casspi didn't stop there. A month after Ethan received the jersey, an envelope arrived at the doorstep of his Indiana home.
Ethan's brother Benny took to Twitter to share the letter.
Andrea said her son was already very happy with the signed jersey, and the family certainly wasn't expecting anything more. She said both of her sons are crazy about the NBA and specifically Casspi, who is the first player in the league born in Israel.
"Reading what he had said knowing that he had actually sat down for the time he took and wrote for Ethan. These kids dream NBA ... they look up to them and you always think that they don't really care or don't take the time ... the fact that he took the time is such a great lesson for my kids," Andrea said.
Casspi is one of the most passionate players on the Kings, wearing his heart on his sleeve in every game. The 6'9'' small forward also has a big heart for the community and the kids who look up to him. Casspi, who is averaging 12.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists this season, downplayed what he had done for Ethan.
"We had a common friend and I heard he wanted to come to the game and he couldn't so I figured it would be a nice gesture just to send him a letter," Casspi said.
Though humble with how he conducts himself, Casspi takes giving back and representing his country seriously. In July, he attended an NBA Cares Clinic in Jerusalem, Israel, where he led drills, worked with kids one-on-one, and participated in a post-clinic question and answer session. In Tel Aviv, the Omri Casspi Foundation teamed up with the Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball club to put on another NBA Cares Youth Clinic. In September, Casspi met with the Jewish Student Union at the University of California, San Diego where he addressed the group for an hour on his off day. Next month, Casspi is planning to make an appearance at Kohelet Yeshiva High School in Lower Merion, PA. He will be visiting the school in the morning, and doing a meet and greet with their basketball team prior to a Kings game.
There are a number of other community activities Casspi has been involved in over the years. His activity off the court and his energy and love for the game on the court is something that resonates when you come in contact with him and when you talk to his teammates about him.
This letter will always resonate with Ethan.
As for Casspi's question in the letter for the youngster about rooting for the Kings despite being a fan of the Indiana Pacers, Andrea put the phone aside and called to her son, "Ethan, are you going to be a Kings fan now?"
"Yes, absolutely," she said of his response.